The Woman King Review

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Viola Davis is a powerhouse of modern cinema. Every time we see Davis on screen you know exactly what you are going to get, an incredibly powerful performance and she tends to choose interesting stories to go with it. It just so happens that I’m also watching How to Get Away with Murder at the moment so I’m seeing a lot of her at the moment.

The Woman King tells the true story of Agojie, an army of female warriors who protect their land of Dahomey. General Nanisca (Viola Davis) trains a group of new recruits preparing them for a battle against a tribe who are capturing people and selling them off as slaves.

I’m going to have to preface this review by saying that I hate watching films with general audiences most of the time. It’s embarrassing that some people can’t sit and watch a film for 2 hours without constantly checking their phone to message someone, or snapchatting 10 seconds of the film and sending it to your friends, or being like “oh the film feels like it’s nearly finished let me just get my phone out and draw the attention of the entire screen with this bright light so they can’t focus”. If someone can come up with a technology to help to either take out people that go on their phone to do anything other than check the time, I will 100% get behind it and endorse it. That was my experience of watching this film.

The trailer for this film grabbed people’s attention, and is definitely part of the success this film has actually had at the box office. No, not a huge success but as someone who works in a cinema, I can tell you, there’s been a decent amount of people interested and have checked out this film. There’s an audience that wants films about badass women, there’s an audience that wants films about badass women of colour. Viola Davis certainly has a decent amount of pull as well.

The cast does a really good job. Viola Davis is one of the best actresses working currently and delivers every time. It was the performance of Lashana Lynch that really grabbed me though. Her performance as Izogie was perfect, adding a lot of heart and moments of levity to the film. She’s obviously blown up with her roles in Captain Marvel and No Time to Die, and she’s not slowing down anytime soon appearing in Matilda soon and in the Bob Marley biopic that’s in the works. I’m also a big fan of John Boyega and love the projects he’s choosing since Star Wars, he might not have a huge role in this but his presence is certainly felt.

The only other film I’ve seen from director, Gina Prince-Blythewood is The Old Guard, which left a lot to be desired, being a generic, standard, sci-fi film which should typically be right up my street. The Woman King is certainly a step in the right direction. I was going in hoping for some great action scenes and there are moments, but opts for the more brutal quick fights, which don’t always have an impact to them, rather than choreographed long fight sequences.

The writing is a bit of an area that lost me around the midway point. I don’t know how much is based on true events and how much was made up for the purposes of the film and that somewhat took me out of the film. This being the first film Maria Bello has a writing credit on, with Dana Stevens also working on the screenplay. I almost wish this specific moment (which I won’t spoil) was set up in the beginning instead of feeling something that was shoehorned into the film to give a character more of an arc, and takes away some of the punch for a story twist.

The level of detail in the sets and the costumes particularly where very impressive and the only real area where I imagine this film could get any particular award buzz.

Overall, The Woman King is a decent film which could have packed more of a punch but delivers strong performances from a strong cast, and anything which tells the story of a real tribe, offering something different and educating audiences is to be praised.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

What did you think of The Woman King?

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