‘Widows’ Editor Layers Suspense Into Steve McQueen’s Crime Thriller

Variety | 11/21/2018 | Daron James
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More than five years ago, while finishing the Academy Award-winning “12 Years a Slave, ” director Steve McQueen told editor Joe Walker about a different project he had in mind: an adaptation of the hit ’80s British television drama “Widows” from crime writer Lynda La Plante.

The movie adaptation, co-written by McQueen and Gillian Flynn (“Gone Girl,” “Sharp Objects”), is set in modern-day Chicago, where four women (played by Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki and Carrie Coon) find themselves alone and unprotected after a heist gone wrong leaves their criminal husbands dead. Pressured to pay off their $2 million debt, the wives plan an all-or-nothing heist of their own to retake control of their lives.

Viewers - Allegory - Opening - Moments - Couples

Viewers are catapulted into the allegory with an opening that intercuts intimate moments among the married couples and a raging police chase from the point of view of an escaping van. On the surface there’s a lot of violence, but the movie also observes deep social issues, including entrenched political corruption and a troubled mix-race marriage between Veronica (Viola Davis) and her husband, Harry (Liam Neeson). “It’s a tightly cut sequence that sets up all the major characters very economically,” notes Walker, who used the opportunity to underline temperament. “It’s designed to be a confrontational opener. You have this moment when Veronica and Harry are in bed, and as he playfully lurches toward her, it cuts sharply to the van under gunfire. We maximized each cut to draw out the inner tensions of their relationship.”

The edit paralleled the narrative complexity: a cinema jigsaw of...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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