When it comes to books, film and television, it’s easy to think of ‘crime’ as a mere genre. Like, say, historical romance, science fiction or the western. But in reality, it’s much bigger than that. Think about it – how many books, TV programmes or movies feature law breaking as a central premise? Most, right…?
Let’s focus on the big screen here and take a quick look at the films currently showing in cinemas nationwide. There’s Yardie, The Happytime Murders, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, The Equalizer 2, Slender Man, Ant-Man & The Wasp, BlacKkKLansman, American Animals… All of them are either ‘crime’ films or have the committing of crime front and centre. Okay, so we intentionally left off Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again and Disney’s Christopher Robin from the list to make a point. But you catch our drift.
Crime is the very backbone of so many dramatic offerings. With that the case and a ‘wood for the trees’ scenario more than possible, how do we know when a potential crime classic could be heading our way? Well, you don’t have to worry too much. Just stick with us, kiddo.
It’s not due out until 6 November, but Widows looks likely to be a future classic. Early reviews have all been extremely positive about the ensemble drama which boasts not only an incredible cast, but a top-notch team behind the cameras. With Gone Girl and Sharp Objects’ Gillian Flynn adapting some pretty hefty Lynda La Plante source material and 12 Years a Slave’s Turner Prize-winning Steve McQueen CBE behind the camera, there’s every chance that this feminist heist picture could be a real Academy botherer come March 2019.
It’s been five years since McQueen made 12 Years a Slave and a decade since him and Michael Fassbender collaborated on the incredible Bobby Sands biopic Hunger. A serious filmmaker, few film fans imagined his next project would be turning an ITV drama from the eighties into a big Hollywood action film. The man’s full of surprises, it seems.
The film’s called Widows and it’s about, well, a group of widows. Women whose husbands are killed in a botched robbery. Women who are forced to then carry out another robbery in order to get out of a pretty large debt that befalls them because of their spouses’ bungling and deaths.
That ‘incredible’ cast we mentioned? We weren’t lying about that. The ludicrously strong female cast includes Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Jacki Weaver and Carrie Coon. While male support comes from the likes of Robert Duvall, Colin Farrell, Brian Tyree Henry, Daniel Kaluuya, Lukas Haas, Jon Bernthal and Liam Neeson. Not bad, eh?
2018 seems to be a good year for ‘real crime’. Netflix has provided us with some of the finest gut-wrenching crime documentaries ever created in the shape of Evil Genius and The Staircase and films like the aforementioned American Animals have shown us how crime – in reality – is really rather far from glamorous, fun or rewarding. And with Widows, that message looks set to be repeated. McQueen insists on grounding his pictures in harsh reality, so this will be no Ocean’s 8-style girly giggle, it’ll more likely portray a grim and frank world of situations that matter and bullets that kill.
The verdict from those critics lucky enough to catch early viewings of the film at the Toronto Film Festival is that we can expect a film that expertly combines action with high drama, themes with emotions and entertainment with social commentary. Each character’s motivations and personality is clearly and realistically defined and relatable and cliches are avoided at all costs.
‘Serious’ fans of cinema will have some pretty weighty themes and subtexts to contemplate, but more casual fans of a night at the cinema shouldn’t be put off. This doesn’t look like a puffed-up arthouse piece. It’s still very much a ‘getting a gang together to try and pull off a $5m robbery’ movie. Just one with a bit of heart and soul behind it.
Sound good? We agree. We’ll be catching this on its release and bringing you our review, so be sure to check back in with us in November.
Can’t wait to see Lynda La Plante’s Widows film on the big screen? Let us know in the comments below!