The Amazon Prime Highlight: “The Widow,” which debuted on March 1.
Premise: A woman (Kate Beckinsale) has a happy marriage until her husband disappears in a plane crash within the Congolese jungle. Presuming he’s dead, the woman tries to kill herself but survives to then wallow in a haze of depression. While watching the news, she spots someone who looks like her husband, setting up a mystery-filled journey for answers and closure.
Sum up: The central mystery over what happened to the woman’s husband is the main attraction here. The show does a stellar job of teasing clues and then having the protagonist piece details together in a satisfying manner. The choice of backdrop is also admirable. Plights of child soldiers and poverty-stricken people in the Congo get a considerable amount of attention. These horrors don’t just exist as scenery for the white protagonist either, the writers inject humanity in those local characters.
Heads up: Although I could see a wide audience falling in love with this show, it didn’t do enough for me. The plot has a bad habit of stringing together “improbable possibilities” ― having the narrative move along by coincidences of timing that seem unlikely. This ultimately jarred me out of the experience. In trying to create drama, the show also has a lot of obstacles and fights that don’t seem realistic. These narrative decisions might help the story zip along, but I couldn’t stop noticing the clumsiness.
Will everyone be talking about this? Yes. The trailer has already earned nearly 5 million views on YouTube alone. Amazon seems to be putting some marketing strength behind this project. Kate Beckinsale’s star power will probably also help.
Check out the trailer for “The Widow” below.
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Coco Van Oppens/Two Brothers Pictures & Amazon Prime