VIOLA DAVID! DANIEL KALUUYA! CYNTHIA ERIVO! COLIN FARRELL! Steve McQueen made a masterpiece here. This film has grit, long-form feminism, and alluring political prowess. The heist is flipped on its’ head and wildly overshadowed by a smart screenplay, and impeccably shot feature.
Cynthia Erivo was perfectly utilized in this, as a heist-er, as political glue, and as a fierce mother and female advocate. Viola Davis shines in every scene. She is a force to be reckoned with, as both an actor and as the character she portrays. And Daniel Kaluuya as a Spanish-language student and wicked thug breathes entire scenes into life with just a look from his dripping in drama almost-black eyes.
This is more about relationships and political power than a heist. The film talks about poverty and neighborhoods in a way that the rich and the poor can relate to. When Collin Farrell leaves his aldership district and heads back to his neck of the woods, there is a clean delineation between his stress level and his proximity to wealth. Viola Davis’ riches are kept lock and key, and while she claims to be without, her life is portrayed quite differently than those of her counterparts. The casting of a black woman with the upper-hand was intentional to show poverty is without color, and anyone can fall victim to a man (Collin Farrell) with a political agenda that involves a paycheck and a point to prove to his father (Robert Duvall).
Alice, played by newcomer Elizabeth Debicki, brought a female perspective here. Women will do whatever it take to survive. Alice proves that point by becoming involved in a number of affairs outside of the heist, and quickly realizing her worth as a woman and as a partner. She is empowered by literal power and it’s a beautiful transformation to see.
I liked the styling of this film, it was to the point. We see Kaluuya in either black or white. We always see Farrell in a suit. Erivo is portrayed perfectly in 2018 working class. I appreciated the brevity of the personal aesthetics that were established early on.
The film is a touch too long, and I’m not convinced that we got the full twist when the twist was revealed, and (spoiler) Davis was in on more than we were led to believe. For this reason, I see a sequel in our future.
5/5, I will watch this again and again. All of the women were smartly cast and wonderfully utilized. I predict this will do exceptionally well come award season.