Five-star per­for­mance

Time Out Abu Dhabi - - INSIDE -

Vi­ola Davis leads the cast in Steve Mcqueen’s lat­est movie Wid­ows, which hits cin­e­mas this week. Find out why we give it Àve stars.

AF­TER SUCH IM­POS­ING movies as Hunger, Shame and 12 Years a Slave – those ti­tles are pun­ish­ing enough – you’d be for­given for as­sum­ing British di­rec­tor Steve Mcqueen had a mean streak, if not to­ward his au­di­ences, then his ac­tors. Now comes Wid­ows, which also has its fair share of suf­fer­ing, mainly on the haunted face of Vi­ola Davis. But Mcqueen has dis­cov­ered some­thing new. Should we call it fun? Let’s not get car­ried away. Still, Wid­ows, a su­per­charged Chicago-set ca­per of con­sum­mate skill, zooms along in a way that feels pep­pier than usual, Mcqueen brew­ing the ac­tion and omi­nous mu­nic­i­pal in­trigue like he was try­ing to outdo The Fugi­tive. He comes fright­en­ingly close.

Three women dom­i­nate the Àlm, de­liv­er­ing it to a poise that Ocean’s 8, a high-col­lared pre­tender, can only dream of. They’re all the re­cent wid­ows of a freshly de­ceased gang of high-stakes crim­i­nals, men who barely get any screen time. In their ab­sence, Veron­ica (Davis) Áoats around her white-walled pent­house like a ghost, Linda (Michelle Ro­driguez) gets her thrift store sold from un­der her, and Alice, a blonde tro­phy wife (El­iz­a­beth De­bicki, run­ning away with the movie via skit­tish fragility and, later, pure nerve), is urged by her own mother to ex­plore a darker ca­reer path. As if eco­nomic freefall and grief weren’t enough, their hus­bands’ unànished busi­ness shows up on their doorsteps, de­mand­ing pay­ment or else. To watch them co­a­lesce into a hard-nosed crew of heis­ters is the year’s most purely plea­sur­able piece of trans­for­ma­tion. Mcqueen, adapt­ing a 1983 British TV minis­eries with Gone Girl screen­writer Gil­lian Flynn, pep­pers the Áow with spik­i­ness, mainly in­volv­ing a vi­cious, un­pre­dictable en­forcer (Get Out’s Daniel Kalu­uya) and – this be­ing Chicago – the stench of dy­nas­tic po­lit­i­cal cor­rup­tion, em­bod­ied by Colin Far­rell’s up-and-com­ing al­der­man. It’s a lot of plot for one sit­ting, but Wid­ows will re­mind you of how mas­sively en­ter­tain­ing crime movies can be, es­pe­cially when they’re an­i­mated by cool-headed ca­pa­bil­ity, on and off­screen. Joshua Rothkopf

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