“Widows” (Fox)

Carrie Coon and Ann Mitchell star in a scene from the movie "Widows." The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. (CNS/Fox)

By Catholic News Service

The ends justify the means in this well-crafted but gritty heist drama from director and co-writer Steve McQueen.

After her career criminal husband (Liam Neeson) is killed while robbing money from a corrupt politician (Brian Tyree Henry), a union official (Viola Davis) is threatened with death unless she repays the stolen loot. Using a notebook her spouse left behind with plans for his next job, she recruits the widows (Michelle Rodriguez and Elizabeth Debicki) of two of his gang members to help her pull the projected theft off instead.

In adapting a British TV series, McQueen and his script collaborator Gillian Flynn work in some intriguing plot twists, and Davis delivers a powerful performance. But the film, which also features Colin Farrell as a rival pol, shrugs off the cost in human life the ladies exact.

Skewed values, some gunplay and other violence with gore, strong sexual content, including graphic acts and images with upper female and rear male nudity, a prostitution theme, a reference to incest, a few uses of profanity, pervasive rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

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