Writing Movie “WRONGS”
By Jim West
Directed by Steve McQueen
Written by Gillian Flynn and Steve McQueen
This film has it all. A solid director and a fantastic cast with Liam Neeson, Viola Davis, Colin Farrell, Robert Duvall (he steals perhaps the best scenes in the film), Daniel Kaluuya, and Michelle Rodriguez. Yet it seems this film with such a great premise and cast falls apart due to only what I can deduce as a horrible decision in editing.
Here comes the spoilers.
This film immediately thrusts you into the lives of wives of criminals. We see them getting ready for their job and saying their goodbyes. We get quickly thrown in to robbery gone wrong, and suddenly the cops shoot up a van which explodes and kills the entire crew. Then we see the women going through the funerals, the wakes, and grieving. Then they start to discover their husbands kept more secrets than they thought they did. One loses her store, and Veronica (Viola Davis) gets visited by a local gang family who wants their money back that her husband Harry (Liam Neeson) stole. The things that get me are how certain characters are expected to know what to do. Example is the driver for Viola Davis’s character, Veronica, is given a key and address for a security deposit box. She goes to the box and there is a notebook with all of his notes on robberies in the past and the details for a next job he planned but never executed. Now with no other messages or letters left with this notebook how was Veronica supposed to assume she should trade this to the people Harry robbed? Is it bad when you can sort of figure out what the ending is going to be then actually have the film just give you the big reveal about halfway into the film? Yeah that is bad. Perhaps a huge editing mistake. By revealing that someone didn’t die gives away the big reveal that honestly should have come as a complete surprise to both Veronica and the audience. Also why didn’t Veronica not try to recruit the fourth woman harder in the first place and only go to her when she was desperate to find a new driver?
This is where reediting the film can improve it. Take the reveals of him being alive and just edit them all out the film. The scene where Veronica discovers he is alive in the other woman’s house with his new baby is not needed. I will explain this better in a minute. They spent a scene filling up soil into Tupperware containers to practice carrying the weight of the money. Use this again. Have Veronica switch the bags in anticipation of possibly being double crossed. Then when Harry reveals himself to be alive to Veronica she is shocked as would the audience be then we can see the flashback of him killing his crew off. She surrenders the money and he shoots her. He leaves her for dead and drives off. He gets a call from one of the bags there is a phone. We see Veronica getting herself up and revealing she wore a bulletproof vest. He stops to check the bags and realize they are all filled with Tupperware containers. She tells him to open the glovebox and there is a gun. The revolver that killed Duvall’s character. He picks it up and asks her what is this. She tells him it is payback for leaving four widows behind. He says the fourth woman is not a widow and that is his new son. Then police lights surround him and Veronica says goodbye. Harry has not only been outsmarted but also totally defeated. Then show a shot of the other woman waiting at home with packed bags and her baby for Harry to come take them away as she hears the news of the murder and Harry’s involvement and shootout with the cops that resulted in him being killed. The flask is then seen on the table as she breaks down to cry and we get the reveal that this flask was what was in the gift box when their son died as that scene is now shown to us of his police stop.
This film could’ve easily been a 9 out of 10 with better editing and weaving in a better planned heist by Veronica improving upon Harry’s notes which can only be done with better writing.
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