Director Steve McQueen says `Widows' not just a heist movie

Slideshow ( 3 images )

LONDON (Reuters) - At first glance, Steve McQueen’s latest film, “Widows”, looks like a fast-paced heist movie, but the award-winning British director says he wanted his Chicago-set movie to take a deeper look at the current political and social-economic climate.

Adapted from an 1980s television series by British crime writer Lynda La Plante, “Widows” follows a group of women who plan a heist to pay off a large debt left by their dead husbands’ crimes.

Gender, race, crime and politics are all subjects touched on in the movie, which stars Oscar winner Viola Davis, “Fast and Furious” star Michelle Rodriguez and “The Night Manager” actress Elizabeth Debicki.

“The whole idea of having this roller-coaster ride of a heist was ... to engage with that whole idea of escapism and ... the whole of that aspect of a thriller but not negate the political and the current ... social economical environment that we live in today,” McQueen told Reuters in an interview.

The London-born filmmaker, known for “12 Years a Slave” and “Shame”, said he decided to set the movie “in ... a heightened contemporary western city”, picking Chicago, the third-largest city in the United States.

“I want to take ... this fiction and staple it into reality of our every day,” he said.

“First, foremost my job is to entertain ... Secondly you’re hoping it will enlighten, you are hoping it will shed light on things which are happening every day which some people can actually recognize and be aware of.”

“I can only hope that this film could do that, even if it’s just one person.”

Reporting By Sarah Mills, writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian, editing by Larry King