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Byron Shire
June 15, 2024

Cinema review: Widows

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Try not to be sucking on your choc-top when this starts. The opening shot is a big close-up of Liam Neeson sliding his tongue into Viola Davis’s gob, and it is a revolting sight. Not that there is anything edifying to follow. This is an ugly, unpleasant movie that, being mainstream and already hugely successful, only leaves you wondering as to what depths of depravity and insensitivity we have dived. A guy is driving a van in a high-speed chase. He is shot from behind by his pursuers, causing the van to smash headlong into a concrete wall. Get in close now for a full-screen image of the driver’s broken, bleeding, dead-eyed face. We can thank director Steve McQueen for that entirely gratuitous and sickening example of death-porn being passed off as ‘gritty’ cinema. And then there was the scene where a fellow is shot in the head at point blank range. Check out the pool of blood welling on the floor where he has fallen. So cool. Why do people want to see this sort of thing? Crime novelist Lynda La Plante’s Widows was first made into a television mini-series back in the 80s and now it has been revisited, with a screenplay co-written by Gillian Flynn, who proved that she was also no slouch at nastiness with Gone Girl. Three crims (including Leeson) are killed in a heist that goes wrong. There is a lot of money unaccounted for and their three widows, Veronica (Davis), Linda (Michelle Rodriguez), and Alice (Elizabeth Debicki), gang up to find the loot before a rival mob of bad guys. The ‘sisters are doin’ it for themselves’ theme is de rigueur, with filmmakers mostly interested in stories that present feminism as being women who behave like men (like actress who call themselves actors, rather than demanding that the suffix be altered by the other gender). Be that as it may, this is just more gun trash and, notwithstanding the cuteness of Olivia, the white Scottish terrier, I hated everything about it.

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