Critiquing Film, Television, and More

Widows Showcases Steve McQueen’s Eccentric Directing Once More

L-R: Michelle Rodriguez, Viola Davis, and Elizabeth Debicki star in Twentieth Century Fox’s WIDOWS. Photo Credit: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox.

SDiFF 2018

Not only do I A-D-O-R-E Gillian Flynn’s—she has honestly been one of the most influential characters in my life in terms of provoking my interest in seeking a writing career—calligraphy, but I’ve also heard marvelous word about Steve McQueen as a director, so you could assume I was pretty stoked to attend an early screening of Widows. 

Let’s just get this out of the way before I get into anything else: McQueen’s directing in Widows is flippin’ jaw-dropping. Some serious “grade-A” directorial mastery right here. McQueen’s determination in choosing what not to show and what to show in the frame parades his exclusive trait. His directing here is immensely variant; there’s a mass of different methods he uses to entice the viewers into this dark universe he has promulgated. 

The screenwriting, in terms of dialogue, is superb. Just to clarify, the writing isn’t good necessarily in how the story plays out, more so how Flynn chooses to have characters interact. So, dialogue basically. It’s all genius, truly. It’s, however, troublesome to describe why I found the conversational moments so profound. The best way, I can say, to understand what I’m talking about, is to simply go witness the film for yourself. Quick statement, but Flynn is just continuously proving herself to being one of the best writers of this century. Can’t wait to see what she writes next. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE WRITE A FOURTH FULL-LENGTH NOVEL. 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

So, evidently, combining McQueen’s unparalleled directing style with such profoundly intriguing dialogue, resulted in a product that features some of the best colloquial/action sequences of 2018. 

That aside, it’s discouraging for me to admit that I had some major issues with Widows despite my overall enjoyment of the film. First and foremost, this movie is sluggishly slow at times. There’s so much extra baggage that is conferred in this movie’s over 2-hour runtime that could’ve easily been cut out and still not had any affect on the critical elements of the overarching story. Have the guts to cut, as they say. Also, there are a ton too many characters and situations that this film attempts to juggle. The movie is constantly tackling way too many scenarios and themes that are based off of numerous amounts of different characters that it becomes immensely hard to focus on one particular plotpoint, except, obviously the main storyline. The principal problem with this issue is that it constitutes the audience into a stressful placement of being burdened with keeping track of the heavy abundance of numerous storylines. So, for example, after a while of exposition from one storyline, we’ll finally jump back to another particular storyline that was previous to this one, but then, once more, hop onto another storyline creating this cycle of forced reajustment of the situations. This could be further proof that expanding this movie to a TV mini-series runtime—which was originally going to be the plan—would’ve resulted in benefiting with declining this issue.

I’m not quite sure also, where Widows’s was trying to go a great majority of the time. It sometimes just kept on dragging (at least, dragging with style; Ka-chow). It’s a tad disappointing how poorly the story was executed, especially when you know it was devised from such a talent like Flynn. There is some merit to the story from time to time; we get those groovy, unexpected Flynn twists and turns that level the movie’s likability by a great extent. So it’s not completely demented, it’s just constantly on and off. 

So did I appreciate the artistry of Widows throughout its entirety? Oh, most certainly, yes. And did I enjoy a solid chunk of the film’s runtime? Yeah, sure. And is there some dignity to the film’s conclusion? Absolutely. The last 10 minutes of this feature-length granted us with the ultimate mega-sonic pay-off. Besides having these whimsical pleasures for the movie, I still can’t quite figure out what the filmmakers where trying to accomplish. Are they simply trying to develop a compelling drama? Or, are they just trying to pull off a unique take on the heist genre? Or, are the filmmakers, factually, just trying to make a political point on crime and race? The pretentiousness and mighty confusion of why this movie exists in the first place may be troubling to some—some, which includes myself—but it also marks the unexpected richness that makes Widows stand out, for reasons that may insinuate a right or wrong perspective from cinephiles. (Verdict: B-) 

For those who have seen Widows:

1) Watching Collin Farrell attempt an American accent was almost too humorous. 

2) I swear that puppy is going to be the end of my masculinity. 

3) Daniel Kaluuya is a f****** maniac. Best performance.

Widows” will be released in theaters November 16, 2018.

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