I swear I didn’t know the source material for this crime-drama-thriller from director Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave) when, at the halfway point, I thought, “Man, this really should have been a miniseries.” Indeed, McQueen and co-writer Gillian Flynn are adapting a 1983 British miniseries, here focusing on three Chicago women—Veronica (Viola Davis), Linda (Michelle Rodgriguez) and Alice (Elizabeth Debicki)—who get into dangerous work after the death of their criminal husbands during a heist. “Focusing” might be a bit of a stretch, however, since there’s also an election for alderman between a legacy candidate (Colin Farrell) and a crime boss (Brian Tyree Henry) looking to transition to politics. The script is dense with characters and ideas—police shootings of young black men; political corruption; victimized women; economic disparities based on race—nearly all of which get barely a moment to register before the script moves on. Though McQueen directs the hell out of this thing, from the kiss-kiss-bang-bang opening through a terrific sequence focusing on the neighborhood through which Farrell’s car is driving, it’s a sprawling narrative that clearly can’t fit in a 129-minute container.
Director: Steve McQueen
Producer: Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, Steve McQueen, Arnon Milchan, Bergen Swanson, Rose Garnett, Daniel Battsek and Sue Bruce-Smith
Cast: Viola Davis, Colin Farrell, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Brian Henry, Daniel Kaluuya, Jacki Weaver, Robert Duvall, Liam Neeson, Garret Dillahunt, Carrie Coon, Jon Bernthal, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Lukas Haas, Matt Walsh and Kevin O'Connor