Now there's a black British director with the same name, offering different yet equally memorable work - long and slow but intelligent dramas about enduring extreme human conditions and dealing with it.
McQueen's so methodical - or maybe bad at finding financing - that he only releases a new movie after every five years (so far).
What extreme conditions? "Hunger" is about voluntary hunger strike and being ready to die for your causeman, "Shame" is about sex addiction, and "12 Years a Slave" about a freed slave caught and brought back to slavery. As the title suggests, "Widows" is about grief and how different people overcome it.
The fourth feature project is somewhat of a departure for McQueen - not just a drama but an action movie of sorts, features a lot of characters, plus all of the central ones are women (played by Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, respectively).
The story is about women with not much in common, except a dangerous debt left behind by their dead husbands' criminal activities, and one of the widows cooks up an elaborate plan to remedy the situation.
Intelligent action drama for adult audience is something of an achievement in itself but "Widows's" most impressive achievement is definitely its grand scope.
There are several storylines which sometimes interwine - including one depicting a contemporary American politcis -, with many different people demanding your time and attention.
A comparision with quality TV series would not be out of place - which is a sign of quality these days - but somehow all this fits into about two hours. The 1983's miniseries it's based on ran nearly five hours, and the rough cut of the movie close to three.
Just to give a sense of the proportions, I will name all behind the more important characters: Colin Farrell, Robert Duvall, Liam Neeson, Daniel Kaluuya, Jackie Weaver, Garret Dillahunt, Brian Tyree Henry, Molly Kunz, Carrie Coon, Lukas Haas, Kevin J. O'Connor, Jon Bernthal, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Michael Harney.
The performances are real good all-around, so I won't bother going into details this time, especially because the movie is more story-oriented than interested in letting individual players be a star and stand out.
Just gotta say it was especially unexpected but very nice surprise to see "Get Out's" softie lead man Kaluuya as a stone cold killer here.
On the whole, McQueen has done a solid job putting all the content and players together. On the other hand, there's so much going on that the project's strong points tend to start working against themselves at times.
For example, the markedly slow tempo works well for immersing the viewer in the setting and lives of the characters, giving everybody and everything important (including dialogue) necessary room to "breathe" and evolve naturally.
Then again, sometimes it gets so slow that one might lose track of the main mission (dealing with the dead men's legacy) and the movie seems to grind to a halt and go nowhere for a while. Or one might forget some detail that comes suddenly up later.
And despite the care taken by McQueen, some of the more interesting supporting figures - played by Neeson, Bernthal, Dillahunt - deserve more screen time than they get. Or at least better-written scenes that they get to appear in.
"Widows" is not for one in search for quick thrills. But it's always cool to get some quality TV in cinema format, so the mainstream movies can be more adult-orientated too.
It may not be a born classic that you remember clearly a few days after (I do not) but it's mostly good while it lasts.