Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Widows Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Allie Schembra
From Academy Award Winner, Steve McQueen, the director of Twelve Years a Slave, and from Gillian Flynn, the writer of Gone Girl, comes a powerful thriller with a stellar cast, including Oscar Winner Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki and Cynthia Ervio. Four women – with nothing in common except a debt left by their deceased husbands’ criminal acts – conspire to take fate into their own hands. Also featuring Colin Farrell, Robert Duvall and Liam Neeson, Widows delivers explosive action and gripping suspense!

Film (3 out of 5 stars)
Widows is the story of four women who lose their husbands during a robbery gone bad. Veronica Rawlings is the wife of Harry Rawlings, the leader of the crime gang. They have a high society life built from his “career” and from hers as a school union leader. The others in the gang are not so well-off and are really just Harry’s expendable partners. After Harry and the gang die in a hail of gunfire and explosions, Veronica is visited by Chicago crime boss, Jamal Manning, who is running for alderman, against corrupt legacy candidate, Jack Mulligan. Manning tells her that Harry stole two million dollars from him and now, Veronica, and the three other widows are responsible for repaying the debt.

Shortly after the visit from Manning, Veronica and Harry’s driver, Bash, gives her a key that Harry entrusted to him to give to Veronica in the event of his death. Veronica uses the key and finds Harry’s notebook, which detailed all his heists, and the upcoming plan for his biggest one yet. With this information, Veronica contacts the other widows, Alice, Amanda, and Linda, and intends to partner with them to pay the debt, and then disappear. At the meeting, Amanda doesn’t show, so Veronica, Alice, and Linda agree to pull off the heist, repay the two million dollars, and then split the rest between them.

As they prepare, they lose their driver, and need to find another. Veronica goes to visit Amanda, and seeing that she has a new baby, decides not to tell her about the heist and let her live her life. Linda asks her babysitter, Belle, as their fourth member. During the preparations, the women come across the plans for the location, but don’t know where it is. Since he is a real estate executive, Alice uses a man she is in an escort/client relationship to identify what the plans are, and where it is located. Once the location is found, the women scope it out, and decide the rest of the plan.

One heist night, the women enter the home, but are interrupted by a maid, and the homeowner’s father. The father attempts to defend the home, and shoots Alice. Linda returns fire and kills the man. The women escape the home, and leave, but are caught by Manning’s enforcer brother, Jatemme, who takes the money, and the van, leaving the women in the middle of the street. The four women find another car, and chase him through the street. Jatemme crashes the van and dies, but the women take the money, and escape before the accident is noticed. After dropping Alice and Linda off at the hospital, Veronica and Belle return to their hideout and Belle leaves. Veronica enters the hideout only to find a surprise.

A few months later, all the money has been split up, with Belle taking her daughter and moving away in search for a better life, Alice, who has recovered form her gunshot wound, uses her money to start her own business, Linda reopens the store her dead husband gambled away, and Veronica meets with a City Leader in a diner, to gift a portion of her share in order to open a library in the name of her deceased son. At the diner, she sees Alice. They do not acknowledge one another, but when they leave, Veronica approaches Alice.

Widows was one of those movies I had wanted to see in the theater, but missed, so I was happy to receive it to review. However, it did not live up to my expectations. While it was entertaining, it dragged on for much of the movie. The planning and preparing of the robbery seemed to take too long, and I looked at the clock and remaining time more than once. However, once they began really planning, and scoping out the locations, and then the robbery itself, the movie became much more exciting and I found myself drawn in. If you can make it through the middle 45 minutes, you’ll come out liking the movie.

There are a lot of little details that were left out, because they can be pretty big spoilers. Still, it was a little predicable. There is one scene that foreshadows that biggest twist. I believe that had that 30 seconds been cut, the twist would not have been so predictable. I am a big fan of Viola Davis, so I will watch a lot of what she is in. She did a great job as Veronica. She played the grieving widow really well, but then took control and didn’t take any crap from anyone. In fact, all the actresses did a great job. After Veronica, Alice was my favorite character, and I thought that Elizabeth Debicki was perfect in the role. Colin Ferrell was absolutely believable as corrupt Alderman Candidate, Jack Mulligan. The ensemble cast was good, and everyone worked well together. Even Michelle Rodriguez, who I am not normally a fan of.
Video (4 out of 5 stars)
The widescreen presentation of Widows was really good. The picture transitions from light to dark seamlessly, and the scenes were bright and sharp. I enjoyed how some of the scenes were colored to show the gloominess of the Chicago Underworld, yet, in Veronica and Harry’s penthouse apartment, everything was bright and white. I didn’t miss any moments due to not being able to see or notice another character just out of focus.
Audio (3 out of 5 stars)
The English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 soundtrack for Widows was average. The volume was a bit uneven; there were many times I had to turn the volume up to hear the dialogue, and then way down because of the gunshots, or explosions. None of the background sounds overwhelmed the rest of the sound, and I really enjoyed the songs chosen for the movie.
Extras (2 out of 5 stars)
The special features were boring. I found them to be lacking, especially the long, behind-the-scenes look.
  • Widows Unmasked: A Chicago Story (52:10) – This behind-the scenes look was way too long. At almost the length of half the movie, the feature gave way too much information, and spoils the whole movie, so do not watch it before watching the movie.
  • Gallery (1:58) – I really dislike these features because I never know what the point of them are.  It’s almost two minutes of still photos with no narration or background sounds.
  • Theatrical Trailer (2:01) – This is the trailer that drew me in and made me want to see the movie.
Summary (3 out of 5 stars)
While initially a little disappointed in the movie, I ended up enjoying Widows. Despite the slow part in the middle, I will definitely watch this again, and now that I know the twists, I will look for more clues (other than that one obvious one). So, put the movie on, make some popcorn, turn off the lights and enjoy an entertaining look at four women who have to settle their husbands’ debts.

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