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Tuesday, March 5, 2019

The Widow: Jolt to the Heart of Darkness



Check out The Widow, eminently binge-able on Amazon Prime Video, a top-drawer action series with great locations in the Congo and strong acting by Kate Beckinsale in the lead role.

She's the widow, and gets caught up in lethal twists and turns after she sees what looks like a quick shot of her husband in a demonstration in Kinshasa three years after he was reported killed in a nearby plane crash, in which not every passenger's body was identified.  Just about everyone is a culprit - including, yes, our dependence on smartphones - and memorable characters abound, from a 12-year old girl pressed into service as a child-soldier (well played by Shalom Nyandiko) to a guy from Iceland (with a love of Whistler's Mother) who did survive the flight but was blinded (well played by Ólafur Darri Ólafsson).  Even Charles Dance puts in a customarily suave, savvy, and dexterous performance.

But Beckinsale runs the gamut from heartbroken to furious to tender - not always to different people - and since her Georgia Wells had some military experience, she's also good with a gun.   There've been many other screen narratives of people looking for lost loved ones, but none with this level of kick-in-the-stomach shockers in just about every episode, and none situated in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.   The combination of the downed flight in the jungle, intercutting of all kinds of flashbacks, and psychological stressors undergone by all sides in the story are reminiscent of Lost at its best (including a strong supporting role by Alex Kingston), and in a different way, of 24: Redemption, which thrust Jack Bauer into a fictional African nation beset by all manner of murderous characters.

I wouldn't quite say Georgia Wells is a female Jack Bauer, but they do have a lot in common, and I certainly would be up for seeing her continue in a sequel series.  Kudos to writers Harry and Jack Williams.

 

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