Viola Davis leads an ensemble cast in Steve McQueen’s latest film “Widows.” | Screenshot from Trailer


A DIRECTOR, PRODUCER, screenwriter, and video artist, Steve McQueen has a dual career making movies for museums and movies for the cineplex.

In the art world, recent video installations have included “End Credits,” an homage to Paul Robeson, presented at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and Pérez Art Museum Miami, and “Ashes,” which ponders the fate of a young fisherman, and was on view at the 56th Venice Biennale and the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston.

For Hollywood, McQueen’s latest big screen feature is a departure from the gravity of “12 Years a Slave,” his 2013 film that won three Academy Awards including Best Picture. His new film has four widows planning a big heist with Viola Davis leading the crew and Liam Neeson playing her late husband. The trailer below offers a preview.

“Widows” is an intense thriller with a star-studded, all-female lead cast and huge commercial appeal. Set in contemporary Chicago, when a planned robbery kills their husbands (Neeson, Robert Duvall, Colin Farrell, and Lukas Haas), a quartet of mourning, debt-ridden wives (Davis, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, and Michelle Rodriguez) comes together to finish the job.

“Widows” is an intense thriller with a star-studded all-female lead cast and huge commercial appeal.

Two black women have prominent roles in the film—Davis and Erivo, a British actress who also plays a widow. Daniel Kaluuya (from Get Out and Black Panther) and Brian Tyree Henry (Paper Boi on Atlanta, Book of Mormon) portray relentless debt collectors whose bold tactics include crashing the men’s funerals.

The trailer opens with a voiceover that asks, “What has happens in the world that normal now passes as excellence? When did we lower our standards? We are living in an environment where people are blind. What you don’t see, you don’t know. Out of sight, out of mind.” Crime and corruption fuels the plot. Fleeting scenes show the women in anguish over the death of their husbands and the decisions they have to make as a result. It is a tumultuous time. They decide to take a huge risk.

“They owed a lot of money and now people want it from us. Now the best thing we have going for us is being who we are,” Davis says. “Because no one thinks we have the balls to pull this off.”

Based on a book by Lynda La Plante, “Widows” is co-written by McQueen and Gillian Flynn author of “Gone Girl.” The British artist and filmmaker, who splits his time between London and Amsterdam, is also producing and directing the project. “Widows” opens in theaters nationwide in November. CT


The filmmakers are inspired by compelling stories that began as books. Steve McQueen brought “12 Years a Slave” to the screen. The memoir about Solomon Northrup, tells the true story of a free black man living in New York who was sold into slavery in the South. McQueen’s co-writer Gillian Flynn is recognized for her novel “Gone Girl,” which was adapted for the screen. “Widows,” their latest film starring Viola Davis, was inspired by the book by Lynda La Plante.


Trailer for “Widows,” Directed by Steve McQueen | Video by 20th Century Fox


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