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.

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