The Woman King review – The role of the general is played by Tyrese, the commander of an elite team of female warriors based on 19th-century west African Agojie fighters as imperialists seek to exploit the tribal conflict.
With this heart-pumping period action movie, Gina Prince-Bythewood weaves an unforgettable story steeped in myth and inspired by the 19th-century west African kingdom of Dahomey (now Benin) and its Agojie: an elite group of female warriors who were tougher and more feared than any men. Think of them as a special forces unit that meets the praetorian guard for the king.
Viola Davis stars as Nanisca, a scarred and hardened general of the Agojie. perpetual vigilant for any sign of attack from their lifelong foes, the Oyo empire. Nanisca is concerned that Ghezo (John Boyega), the new king who overthrew his brother in a coup, is not fixated on these issues to her level of intensity. Nawi (Thuso Mbedu), a new hothead recruit, is preoccupied with Nanisca, who has been strangely preoccupied with a new firebrand recruit, Izogie (Lashana Lynch). As two Brazilian aristocratic slavers arrive in her country eager to exploit the warring sides that want to sell off their prisoners of war into slavery, Nawi will come of age as a warrior and make an unspeakable find about her life.
The Woman King is a film with clear old-fashioned influences, such as Gladiator and Braveheart. Although, there are also aspects that make it relate to current times, Prince-Bythewood and her screenwriters Maria Bello and Dana Stevenstackle the way tribal warfare created the market forces for slavery – an idea that Ghezo is now considering exploiting for financial gain by making the business model switch from slavery to palm oil production instead.
The picture itself is big and bold, with the electric presence of Davis, Lynch, Atim, and Mbedu. I wondered if a more villainous character could have added to the drama, especially someone who could hold their own against the charismatic Davis. Boyega’s Ghezo is flawed but perhaps he was too underdeveloped to be a true threat. Even so, the spectacle as a whole is grand with colorful and entertaining performances from all.
Movie Name: The Woman King
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Cast Leads: Viola Davis, Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch
Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Producer: Maria Bello, Dale Butler, Peter McAleese
Written by: Dana Stevens, Maria Bello
Music: Terence Blanchard
Director Of Photography: Polly Morgan
Movie Rating: 3.3/5