2018 is apparently the year of the female heist movie. One (Oceans 8) tried to beat you over the head with that fact, and the other quietly slipped into theaters and is definitely one of the best movies of this year.

In Chicago, politics and crime are one and the same. A botched robbery by Harry Rawlings (Liam Neeson) sets the stage. He and his crew robbed a powerful gangster turned politician and were killed by police in a fiery shootout. Now, that gangster wants his money back. Rawlings wife, Veronica (Viola Davis) has a month to get it. She has an ace up her sleeve though: Rawlings notebook detailing his next heist. Now, Veronica has to convince the other widows of the crew to steal from an even wealthier political family in town, or they might all lose their lives.

And you can bet with writer Gillian Flynn working the script, the aggrieved parties are much more connected than they seem at first. And yes, of course there is a twist.

As a visual piece of art, Widows is a masterclass. I guarantee the first five minutes of the film will be picked apart and studied by film students. Steve McQueen is an amazing director. The movie starts with the failed heist. We see each male member of the team in a high stakes situation, then flip to a calmer scene of them with their spouses, where we are introduced to the real heroes. Then it’s back to the car chase and a violent end. It’s gorgeous, sets up each characters relationships perfectly, and what they lost when the heist went south. The rest of the movie is clean, perfect cinematography. Long takes when needed, beautiful setups, and top notch acting. Even Michelle Rodriguez is amazing in this movie. Normally, I have a thing against her, but she is great in this movie, as is the entire cast.

As far as faults go, Widows has a few. The final female “crewmember” kind of just walks onto set and gets to be a part of the crime. We never learn anything substantial about her, nor spend any significant time with her. The final heist is beautifully shot, with twists and turns and just enough planning so you think you know whats going to happen, and then the real plan begins. But after the fact, I found myself thinking “That was the plan??” A lot of the plan rests on coincidences, as most movies do. Believable coincidences, but coincidences nonetheless.

BUT this is one of the best heist movies ever. Certainly better than most if not all of the Ocean’s franchise. Fantastic dialogue, great villains, beautiful visuals, and a sense of purpose, Steve McQueen once again proves that he is an auteur of the highest caliber.

3.5 out of 4 stars.

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