Blu-ray Review: Widows

STUDIO: Fox | DIRECTOR: Steve McQueen | CAST: Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Colin Farrell, Carrie Coon, Liam Neeson
RELEASE DATE: Feb. 5, 2019 | PRICE: DVD $14.99, Blu-ray/DVD Combo $19.96, 4K Ultra HD $24.96
SPECS: R | 129 min. | Crime thriller | 2.39:1 widescreen | Dolby Atmos/Dolby Digital 5.1 | English, Spanish and French subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

, the latest film from Oscar-winner Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave), is not your parents’ heist film. With the ever-adventurous, envelope-pushing British filmmaker at the helm, Widows touches intelligently and often disturbingly on racial issues, politics and inner-city strife while also satisfying as a first-rate genre outing.

The setting is the Chicago area where scenes of domestic bliss between Veronica (Viola Davis, Fences) and Harry (Liam Neeson, Non-Stop) are intercut with a robbery gone wrong—led by long-time crook Harry.  Soon, Veronica is partner-less and cash-less, as are the better halves of Harry’s cohorts in crime. The group includes Linda (Michelle Rodriguez, The Fate and the Furious franchise), Alice (Elizabeth Debicki, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) and Amanda (Carrie Coon, The Post).

Windy City crime boss Jamal Manning (Brian Tyree Henry, Hotel Artemis) threatens Veronica in order to get $2 million he’s owed from the botched heist. She and the group of grieving women (minus Coon) get together to carry out a theft for payback cash, but complicating matters is a local power broker (Colin Farrell, The Lobster) running against  Manning for a powerful city political position.

A reworking of a 1983 British TV series, Widows offers nifty complications and twisted plotting galore. Couple this with a top-notch cast (that also features Cynthia Erivo, Daniel Kaluya and Robert Duvall), stylishly gritty direction, well-mounted action and a jagged-edged tough gal script by McQueen and Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn and you have something worthy of its praise.

Following a great showing at fall 2018 film festivals and strong word-of-mouth, Widows didn’t quite reach the box-office heights expected, peaking at about $42 million in the U.S. There’s little doubt, however, that the film’s post-theatrical returns will receive strong support as audiences discover one of the most unique and accomplished thrillers to come down the pike –or Michigan Avenue—in quite a while.

Buy or Rent Widows

About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.