First Hit: Despite all the strong actors, just didn’t think this film held together very well.
In the attempt to put complexity in this story, director Steve McQueen mishandled this screenplay. The issue with the story is that to make the wives of thieves the heroes, they create a story about a crime boss wanting stolen money back from the wives who, for the most part, knew little of their husbands ventures. I don’t think the story needed to be this overly complicated to make a film about four women who become heroes of a heist. The story tried to make us care and it didn't work.
Veronica (Viola Davis) is married to Harry Rawlings (Liam Neeson) who heads up a group of guys he pulls jobs with. Florek (Joe Bernthal), Carlos (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), and Jimmy Nunn (Coburn Goss) are killed, along with Harry, during a job when they rob Jamal Manning (Brian Tyree Henry) a Chicago crime boss. Their significant others, Veronica, Linda (Michelle Rodriguez), Amanda (Carrie Coon), and Alice (Elizabeth Debicki) are being pressured to return the money by Jamal and his strong arm son Jatemme (Daniel Kaluuya). The supposed reason is that this money was going to be used by Jamal to finance his campaign to become alderman.
Jamal is running for alderman against a family dynasty, the Mulligans. Outgoing Tom (Robert Duvall) is very much the prototypical version of an Irish Chicago alderman; controlling, suppressing anyone or anything that takes his control away and wanting to keep his meal ticket in place by having his son Jack (Colin Farrell) run for the office.
Pressed by both Jamal and his strong arm lackey son, Jatemme , Veronica needs to find a way to pay back the $2 million. She finds a detailed plan that Harry created to make a heist that will net them $3 million after they pay back the $2 million their husbands stole from Jamal.
There are amusing times when the women have to buy a getaway car and guns, but the planning and getting everyone on the same page it was the seriousness of Veronica.
There are other complications, including one of the widows is hesitant to participate, and when Veronica and Harry’s driver, whom she recruited to drive their getaway car, gets killed by Jatemme, they hire Belle (Cynthia Erivo) who is Linda’s babysitter.
There’s a twist with Amanda and why she doesn’t participate in the robbery with the other widows and it is an odd reveal.
Davis was OK as the lead widow. I didn’t sense or feel a real connection with her husband Harry. Neeson was mediocre as the double-crossing husband and thief. Rodriguez was strong as the woman who wanted to show up and make things happen. Debicki was excellent as the woman tired of being abused and taking charge of her life and becoming a critical part of the widows team. Erivo was very good as the babysitter pressed into action as driver. Duvall is strong as a character he embodies in many roles, controlling, mean, and cantankerous. Kaluuya was excellent as the over the top, mean, strong arm enforcer. Coon was OK as the widow that doesn’t participate in the robbery and has a secret. Henry was good as the crime boss wanting a piece of the semi-legitimate pie the alderman’s post would give him. Farrell was OK as the reluctant son who was being pressed into running as alderman, thereby keeping the family tradition alive. Steve McQueen and Gillian Flynn wrote this somewhat misguided screenplay. The misguidedness led to McQueen’s mediocre direction.
Overall: Some of the scenes didn’t fit together well and seemed pressed, while the overall film lacked cohesiveness.