Last week (November 1), 350 specially invited guests arrived at Brixton Ritzy for a special MOBO Movies preview of Steve McQueen's new thriller Widows, which was followed by a Q&A with the man himself.
Guests including actor Will Poulter, MOBO nominee Novelist, MOBO UnSung 2016 Winner Alika, creator of the viral hit "Shiro's Story," Rapman, MOBO Award-winner Beverley Knight and campaigner Baroness Doreen Lawrence, amongst others, filled a packed auditorium to see this highly-anticipated film and hear behind-the-scenes revelations from one of the worlds most renowned directors.
From Academy Award-Winning Director Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”) and co-writer and best-selling author Gillian Flynn (“Gone Girl), Widows is an exhilarating movie channeling Lynda La Plante’s 80's TV Drama and will have you on the edge of your seat, as well as boasting a stellar cast that’s captivating from the first frame.
A modern-day thriller following the lives of a group of women who are brought together by the recent deaths of their criminal husbands, you could be forgiven for thinking that a six-part TV crime drama from the 80’s set in London could not make for an outstanding Hollywood Blockbuster, but you will be presently surprised at how McQueen is actually able to piece it all seamlessly together, including relocating the story to present-day Chicago.
BOOOOM! Yes, that’s right, the film starts immediately at 120 miles per hour with a shot of Harry Rawlins (Liam Neeson “Taken”) and crew in a mad car chase which unfortunately leads to a fiery demise. Set in Chi-Town (Chicago), Veronica (Oscar winner Viola Davis “Fences”) is left traumatized after her husband Harry’s sudden passing.
Trying to rebuild her life without the stability and financial support she once knew, she is visited by town hoodlum turned politician Jamal Manning (Bryan Tyree Henry) to inform her that her husband left a hefty $2 Million debt that she must pay or risk facing dire consequences. As Veronica panics about her visit, the only thing standing between her and imminent death at the hands of Jamal and his brother Jatemme Manning (Daniel Kaluuya) is a notebook left behind by Harry which outlines past, present and future ‘jobs’.
Not one to take things lying down, Veronica decides to find and convince the widows of Harry's crew to join her in one last job to clear the Manning debt and give them all enough to start over. She enlists Linda (Michelle Rodriguez), a mother of three and shop owner who walks in on her store being repossessed, Alice (Elizabeth Debicki) a domestic violence victim who is encouraged by her mother (Jackie Weaver) to essentially become an ‘escort’ in order to make ends meet, and hair stylist and single mother Belle (Cynthia Erivo), the babyface looking but no-nonsense get-a-way driver.
Whilst trying to figure out the first-time hit, a political battle is rapidly brewing between Manning and Jack Mulligan (Colin Farrell) who is the favourite to take over Chicago’s predominantly African-American 18th Ward from his racist father Tom (Robert Duvall). Mulligan tries to buy his way to victory by investing in a few campaigns claiming to support small businesses and the people of the 18th Ward, promising to change things around if he won.
Emphasizing on the visual world occurring around them, the dialogue effectively showcases the difference between Mulligan, who lives in a glamorous home, and the people he is ‘trying’ to help, who get by but are in dire need of resources in the 18th Ward. With a range of contemporary social issues around race, crime, corruption, gender, and politics stitched into the fibers of this movie, you will not be disappointed by cinematographer Sean Bobbits exposition.
Following the screening, audience members were treated to a very special Q&A with McQueen, where he answered questions from the audience and offered new insight into some of the key scenes in the gripping movie.
Hosted by Gemma Cairney, McQueen shared why he decided to relocate the story from London to Chicago, how music plays an important role in telling stories and why representation is so important on and off screen.
Whilst invitees were enjoying the film in London, over 300 MOBO followers were watching special MOBO previews in Leeds, Liverpool, and Manchester. They were also treated to an exclusive interview from Steve McQueen, which you can view below.
With standout performances from each member of this fantastic ensemble cast, don't be surprised when you see a flood of nominations for Widows during next year's awards season. So, go toilet, grab your popcorn and drinks and get comfy in your seat because this is a film not to be missed!
Widows arrives in UK cinemas on November 6.