NEW YORK (CNS) — Well-crafted but gritty, the Chicago-set heist drama “Widows” (Fox) would be acceptable for at least a few adults if it did not ultimately send the message that, at least when the stakes are sufficiently high, the ends justify the means.
As it is, director and co-writer Steve McQueen’s adaptation of a British TV series, penned with Gillian Flynn, cannot be endorsed for anyone.
Viola Davis delivers a powerful performance as Veronica, a union official seemingly happily married to career criminal Harry Rawlings (Liam Neeson). After Harry and several of his gang members are killed while robbing money from corrupt politician Jamal Manning (Brian Tyree Henry), Veronica is threatened with death unless she repays the stolen loot.
Since the cash burned in the police ambush that took out Harry and his partners, Veronica has few options. Her prospects improve, however, once she retrieves a notebook Harry was keeping in a safe deposit box that carefully details all his operations, including the next job he was planning.
In short order, Veronica recruits two other women the botched crime left widowed, Linda (Michelle Rodriguez) and Alice (Elizabeth Debicki), to help her pull the projected theft off instead. The trio is eventually joined by overworked babysitter and beautician Belle (Cynthia Erivo) who agrees to drive their getaway van.
McQueen and Flynn work in some intriguing plot twists. But between a major storyline that involves Alice working as a high-end prostitute — at the urging of her mother, Agnieska (Jacki Weaver), no less — and a scene where Veronica blackmails a security executive using photos of the man having sex with his niece, the tone is dark and the behavior seamy.
But what pushes “Widows” — which also features Colin Farrell as Jack Mulligan, Manning’s rival for the post of Windy City alderman — out of bounds is the way it shrugs off the cost in human life its sympathetically treated main characters exact.
The film contains skewed values, some gunplay and other violence with gore, strong sexual content, including graphic acts and images with upper female and rear male nudity, a prostitution theme, a reference to incest, a few uses of profanity and pervasive rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103