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  • Writer's pictureConfessions of A Listener

Film Review - Widows (2018)

IMDb - Offical Poster


The Plot: Set in contemporary Chicago, amidst a time of turmoil, four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands' criminal activities, take fate into their own hands, and conspire to forge a future on their own terms.

Director: Steve McQueen

Writers: Gillian Flynn (screenplay by), Steve McQueen (screenplay by), Lynda La Plante (based on "Widows" by)

Stars: Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki


Wow!! This was my first ever viewing of a film directed by Steven McQueen and what a powerful one to begin on. Based upon the Tv series by Lynda La Plante, McQueen and Flynn skilfully tell a story addressing the challenges of class, money, race, gangs and sexism in modern-day Chicago.

There are two scenes which are strongly imprinted on my memory. I won’t give details on the plot but will describe the visual and audio.

In the first third of Widows there is an deeply vulnerable scene with Viola Davis’s character. The visual framing positions her off-centre to the right and isn’t completely in focus. This unusual angle mixed with close-ups reflect the character’s internal struggle for control over her emotions. Another element which establishes this subjective scene is the audio. Ambient street noises and domestic appliances are excluded from the soundtrack intensifying the emotional nakedness radiating from this character. No words are emitted just instinctive vocalisations to release her overwhelming feelings.

The second scene lasts around 2 minutes and heavily uses ADR. In this shot Colin Farrell and Molly Kunz characters’ are having an argument on the way back to Farrell's house. We do not see their faces at any point during the journey from one neighbourhood to another. This heated argument is portrayed well through aggressive shouting and varied volumes but ends in a composed manner before exiting the car. The ambient sounds outside of the car are kept to a minimal level alongside low level car-engine sounds. McQueen could have chosen to close-frame the characters within the car but in-doing so wouldn’t have emphasised how geographically close the conflict of class and money is within this story. In focusing on the ADR part of the soundtrack for this scene, McQueen accentuates the tie between location and conflicts of class, money, race and gangs.

To talk about other scenes within the film I’ll need to watch it again. I can’t recommend enough how much you should see this film.

Till next time folks!

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