GANG OF FOUR
Widows is a crime thriller — but not as you know it
“MY BIG THING in my career is, I just want to do something different,” says Viola Davis. “Something that wakes people up.” Starring in Widows, a heist movie from 12 Years A Slave director Steve Mcqueen, certainly qualifies. Davis plays Veronica, the wife of a thief (Liam Neeson). But when he and his crew are killed, she and the other widows must continue their husband’s planned job to get the money to survive. “The men put us in the hole, and now it’s up to us to dig ourselves out — not just as individuals but by collaborating.”
With Veronica is a “motley crew” played by Michelle Rodriguez (Linda), Elizabeth Debicki (Alice) and Broadway star Cynthia Erivo (Belle). After being denied help by a family of politicians, the unlikely group plot a heist that none of them would have contemplated before.
“It takes, as Joseph Campbell says, a call to adventure, to live a life bigger than yourself,” says Davis. “I don’t think Veronica knows that when she starts off. She just slays the dragons. And in slaying them and performing this heist, she’s saving herself.”
While these are “loud, bodacious, strong women”, they’re also in a Steve Mcqueen movie, and he is not going to put the usual movie gloss on it. Instead of freewheeling, Ocean’s-style cleverness and consequence-free results, this is a heist movie “without the Hollywood element”: more dangerous, more real. In other words, it should be, as Davis hoped, something different.