Widows 2

By Joanna Langfield

A nifty, nimble marriage of prestige and pulp, this one packs a whole lot into a highly entertaining package.

Gillian Flynn (“Gone Girl”) has adapted a British TV series, telling the complicated story of three women, widowed when their husbands die during a heist. Desperate, they form an unlikely union, unhappily forced to pull off the one last job their husbands didn’t live long enough to do themselves. What could have been trivialized into a kind of slick, upbeat sisters-are-doin-it-for-themselves kind of mass appealer (yes, I’m looking at you there, “Ocean’s Eight”), Flynn and director Steve McQueen (“Twelve Years A Slave”) go to great lengths to make sure this satisfying treat is so much more than that.

For some, there might be almost too much here. There’ll be no napping during this densely plotted story of the men and women of one of Chicago’s inner city wards. We witness the circumstances of not just our three main characters, but also of the white political family who’s run the district for years, the religious leaders playing both sides of the fence, the businesswomen trying, against tough odds, to make it.

While we are reminded Viola Davis and Liam Neeson’s marriage (yes, it is a mixed marriage. And if you have any problem with that, have you watched some of the commercials on TV lately?) had its rough spots, it is a treat to watch Davis navigate the road from foggy-sighted comfort to eagle eyed determination. Co-stars Michelle Rodriquez, Colin Farrell, Robert Duvall, Daniel Kaluuya, Cynthia Erivo and an underused Jacki Weaver all deliver top notch work. But perhaps the most exciting breakthrough here is from Elizabeth Debicki, a stunning actress who insures her immigrant beauty with wit, grit and a fierce sense of survival.