The cold humanity of Steve McQueen’s cinema operates in stark shades of black and white. From his origins as a visual artist, the British filmmaker draws striking images to evoke meaning: corporeal passion and destruction in Shame, the burden of an unjust history in 12 Years a Slave, and now the unforgiving redemption of a woman scorned in Widows.
Teaming up with Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn, McQueen adapts an unlikely source text – a 1983 ITV primetime series. The premise is unchanged: when three armed robbers are killed on the job, their widows must pick up the pieces to clean up the mess left behind. It’s a straightforward subversion in the heist genre, where the biggest explosions provide the starting point, and the men are very quickly left in the shadows. In 2018, this feels way, way overdue.
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