The Reel Review

B

Kate Beckinsale stars in this Amazon series as Georgia Wells, a widow living alone in remote Northern Wales, three years after her aid worker husband’s plane crashed in the Congo. While watching a TV news report about street riots in Kinshasa, she spots someone who looks just like him wearing his trademark orange baseball hat – so she frantically jets off to central Africa to find her husband.

Although the first couple of episodes are frustratingly scant on story details, and there are an unending string of wildly far-fetched plot twists, the story’s brisk pacing, well-constructed African locales and attention-grabbing cliffhangers at the end of each episode make it a fun, mindless binge watch. Beckinsale (and her perfect ponytail – how DO they both look so flawless in the oppressive African heat?) delivers a compelling performance with an equally impressive supporting cast (Charles Dance, Alex Kingston, Jacky Ido, Bart Fouche, and in particular, Shalom Nyandiko as the machine gun-toting young girl Georgia rescues from a Congolese militia).

There are a couple of unnecessary subplots that feel like time filler: the relationship between the blind plane crash survivor Ariel (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson) and a woman undergoing surgery to restore her eyesight, as well as the brief romantic fling between Kingston’s character Judith and her love interest, played by Siobhan Finneran (O’Brien from Downton Abbey). And the body count is so high that anyone interacting with Georgia might as well have been a red-shirted “away team” member in the original Star Trek TV series. But Georgia’s unyielding persistence to find her man (and the truth) will be more than enough to keep you invested to see the many puzzle pieces fall into place.

REEL FACTS

• Kate Beckinsale and Charles Dance also worked together in the last two of the five-film vampire action/horror Underworld franchise.

• Although set in the Congo and Rwanda, due to safety concerns, all African scenes for The Widow were filmed in South Africa

• Writers Harry and Jack Williams also wrote the popular 2014 British anthology thriller TV series The Missing

 

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