If you enjoyed the glitz and glamour of Ocean’s 8, the all-star, all-woman instalment of the popular franchise, but found yourself longing for a grittier, gutsier take on it, you’re in luck.
Steve McQueen’s follow-up to 12 Years a Slave, which won the Academy Award for best picture in 2014, is centred around four women who undertake a heist after their spouses are killed in the line of crime.
OK, that’s simple enough. So why the hype?
There are rarely multiple women in any given heist film, which was the novelty of Ocean’s 8, but Widows could crack the genre wide open.
Ladies committing crimes. Love it. And it helps that McQueen’s cast is ridiculously good. Anchoring the film, which is co-written by Gone Girl scribe Gillian Flynn, is Oscar winner Viola Davis, who takes it upon herself to pull off her dead husband’s (Liam Neeson) next planned job.
Filling out Davis’ Widowed Wives Club are Cynthia Erivo, Elizabeth Debicki and Michelle Rodriguez. Given her tenure in the Fast and the Furious franchise, Rodriguez is no stranger to heist pictures, but Erivo is best known for her Tony-winning turn in The Color Purple and Debicki for AMC’s The Night Manager. Both Erivo and Debicki are stellar actresses but unconventional choices for such a high-profile gig.
That is, until you see Erivo working over a heavy bag in the trailer.
The supporting cast is no slouch either, filled with a murderer’s row of actors — and I love seeing a bunch of dudes working hard to support leading ladies — including Colin Farrell as a reticent, long-time associate, as well as Brian Tyree Henry (Atlanta) and Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out) as two deeply menacing villains.
It’s invigorating to see films not just remade in the image of their successful predecessors by casting women instead of men. (I’m looking at you, Ghostbusters.) Instead, they’re crafted from the ground up to tell a unique story that could be told only by women.
It’s past time that Hollywood starts telling narratives about complex women who want nothing more than to blow stuff up and rob bad guys.
Widows bows in US theatres on November 16.