Playing like a badass big sister to the dizzy “Ocean’s 8,” this riveting thriller from director Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”) fashions a female-driven heist from a heady intersection of violence, intimacy, political hypocrisy, patriarchy and power. With Gillian Flynn (“Sharp Objects,” “Gone Girl”) as co-writer, this drama almost makes you wish the duo had made it a premiere-network miniseries instead; it’s certainly got enough subplots to fill the time.
As it stands at just over two hours, though, this Chicago-based feature is a taut tale of women united in the aftermath of their husbands’ violent deaths in a crime bust turned fatal. As the film’s center, Viola Davis’ Veronica is left struggling to understand what the death of her husband, Harry (Liam Neeson), has wrought — though she was well aware of his less-than-above-board profession when he was alive. Michelle Rodriguez and Elizabeth Debicki play the other women left holding the bag by reckless, cruel men (we see Debicki’s Alice being taunted by her husband — Jon Bernthal — over the black eye he’s clearly given her on the morning before it all goes south).