Oscar-winning film-maker Steve McQueen (12 Years A Slave) heads in a more popcorny direction for this adaptation of the 1980s British miniseries originally written by Prime Suspect creator Lynda La Plante.

Viola Davis leads a star-laden cast as Veronica, wife of career criminal Harry (Liam Neeson), who dies during a heist at the beginning of the film. When the people Harry stole from come looking for their money, Veronica teams up with the now-widowed wives of Harry's partners-in-crime to execute a final heist that Harry left behind plans for.

Also in the mix are two competing Chicago politicians, played by Colin Farrell and Brian Tyree Henry, as well as Farrell's character's father (played by the legendary Robert Duvall) and his rival's sadistic enforcer brother (played chillingly by Get Out's Daniel Kaluuya).

McQueen has stated a desire to reach a wider audience with this movie, and that's what Widows feels like – a potboiler with an auteur behind the camera. This results in some interesting film-making flourishes and a solid sense of place.

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The Chicago setting is well exploited, with the location playing a comparable role to that of Los Angeles in Michael Mann's Heat, a classic heist thriller which this film evokes more than once.

There are many moments when Widows spills over into melodrama, but it remains wholly captivating throughout and is ably carried forward by a stunning cast doing spectacular work.

Cast:

Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Liam Neeson

Director:

Steve McQueen

Running time:

129 minutes

Rating:

R16 (Violence, offensive language and sex scenes)

Verdict:

A slick Hollywood thriller with a dash of film-making flair.