Connect with us

Bollywood News

Black Widow: A Superheroine Film With Super Family Values



Black Widow

Black Widow(Disney Hotstar)

Starring  Scarlett Johansson ,Florence Pugh, David Harbour, O-T Fagbenle, Olga Kurylenko, William Hurt, Ray Winstone,  Rachel Weisz

Directed by  Cate Shortland

Rating: ** ½

Black Widow MThe best thing about Black Widow, besides its  widescreen wunderlust whittled  down to a  viral  velocity,is not Scarlett Johansson. Don’t get me wrong. She is fantastic in the title role. But Florence  Pugh who plays  her sister is  even better.What a  find she is! Pugh(not to be  confused with Kareena Kapoor’s vain and selfabsorbed  Poo)   gives to the sibling’s role a  kind of  subtle thrust that makes  the  whole family  thing  work  within the  plot’s adrenaline rush  of action and reaction.

At its heart—and this is one rare super-hero  film that does  have one—Black Widow is  about  keeping the  family together and   it doesn’t have to b ea  family forged  from blood.A lot of blood is spilt to get to this realization. Somehow the director Cate Shortland(whose earlier works Lore  and Berlin Syndrome  indicated cursorily  the  epic route that  she has adopted in Black Widow) never leaves the narrative short of breadth  even when  the plot gets  furiously flimsy,inducing wasteful action sequence in the name of whimsy.

The later sequences where the two  “sisters” (who are not really sisters) battle the  blustering   baddie Taskmaster(the  Ukranian  actresss Olga Kurylenko)  and her daddy dearest  Dreykov(Ray Winstone) feels like attractive padding in a plot where the ladies, if given  an opportunity,  would rather expend their emotional  energy than their vent their superhero spleen.

Admittedly the chase sequences are to die  for. Which is what the  villains in  hot pursuit do, as the two  sisters flee their  common enemies and from one  another with uncommon stealth and splendor. The action scenes are spectacularly staged  and  Johansson is fully up to it. She   doesn’t allow the  brilliant  camera(Gabriel Beristain)  to control her  agility. This is fully physical performance  , virile and sexy in a very asexual way.

But  I felt the younger sister played  by Florence Pugh(memorable earlier too in Lady Macbeth)  stealing up stealthily from behind, outdoing  Johansson  in both the stunts  and  the  drama(sometimes the stunts  are  so  dramatic, it is hard to tell one  from the  other).  Another memorable   performance comes from  Rachel  Weisz as Natasha  and  Yelena’s  adopted  mother. Wiesz  beings in a  motherly wisdom , countering  her  screen husband( David Habor)’s fumbling parenting with  an instinctive  wisdom.

 The  film is  well paced and   allows the characters  to grow naturally from  dormant to driven.

Black Widow is  not a  great  super-hero film  by any stretch  of the imagination.  But it allows   the  plot to  dilate  and spread its wings without  unnecessarily complicating the storytelling. The fact that  Johansson  won’t be returning for  another  Black Widow film dampens  the spirit. Damn, just when the proceedings were warming  up!

Continue Reading