Monday, December 19, 2022

The Woman King

Inspired by true events, The Woman King examines the life of the general (Viola Davis) of an all-female army of the African kingdom of Dahomey during a period where a crop of new recruits, including the opinionated young Nawi (Thuso Mbedu), and rivalries with their neighbors, will reawaken ghosts from her past.

An epic tale with a heart from screenwriter Dana Stevens, director Gina Prince-Bythewood delivers a film as notable for its action sequences as its dramatic moments (even if several of those moments rely tenuously on fate and/or coincidence). Davis and Mdedu lead a strong cast who also include Lashana Lynch as one of the most fearsome warriors of the and John Boyega as the forward-thinking, but still quite pompous, king.

The backdrop of the slave trade bleeds into the story several times as the nation must decide if it will continue to promote the practice (by delivering captured enemy warriors as slaves) to ensure the prosperous relationship they have with the west. A cancerous partnership that Nanisca (Davis) and several of her warriors appose, to make a change could lead the nation into even greater conflict with their slaving neighbors the Oyo.

Although I don't think all aspects of the film get paid off as well as I'd like, such as the arc involving a bastard from Dahomey (Jordan Bolger) returning home with slave traders with mixed feelings about his purpose, what the film does well, such as the interweaving storylines of Nawi and Nanisca, it does quite well. The film is now available for streaming and also on DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K including a number of extras such as interviews with the cast and crew, audio commentary, auditions and casting featurettes, and a short documentary featurette on representation in film.

Watch the trailer
  • Title: The Woman King
  • IMDb: link

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