The Woman King

#Review: The Woman King

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Coming out this October is The Woman King. Starring Viola Davis, Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atim and Thuso Mbedu this historical epic follows the most dangerous warriors in all of African history.

Known as the Agojie, these women would protect their kingdom, the kingdom of Dahomey from all kinds of enemies. Whether they hail from Africa or from fields afar none were safe from the wrath of the Agojie. Led by their terrifying general Nanisca (Davis) they are an unstoppable force. However, the future is coming and they are trying to figure out where they will fit in. With a young king on the throne (John Boyega), Nanisca hopes to move away from the dark ways of their past and hopefully become the Woman King, essentially a figure in Dahomey as powerful as the king.

Now with the dangers looming on the horizon as a rival kingdom is making power moves against their kingdom Nanisca and the Agojie have to defend Dahomey against an even more significant threat, the very destruction of their whole way of life.

We are the spear of victory, we are the blade of freedom

The Woman King is a brilliant film. With stunning cinematography that showcases the beauty of South Africa where the film was shot. The city of Dahomey is gorgeous and the world around it is filled with character. The opening scene showcasing the terror of the Agojie is a particular highlight. Easily one of the best introductions of a cast I’ve seen in a long time.

The Woman King capitalises on this cinematography with incredible fight scenes. The whole cast could be best described as a force of nature. If you watch any of the behind-the-scenes videos you will see how much work the whole cast put in. I did have an issue with the fact that even though these stunts are brilliant they are surprisingly bloodless. I understand the reasoning, the higher the rating the fewer eyes on it. However, I found this defanged several of the scenes and took away from the authenticity of these moments.

We are Dahomey

The cast of The Woman King is also bringing awards-worthy performances. My particular favourite is Lashana Lynch who is the MVP in every scene she is in. Her character of Izogie is one of the more terrifying warriors. However, she is also one of the most charming and cheeky characters as well. Viola Davis is brilliant as always and her relationship with the new member of the Agojie, Nawi played by Thuso Mbedu, is an engaging one. I will say the film is too long and there is a subplot which comes in during the second act which is too melodramatic for me. This subplot is unnecessary in my eyes and took away from the film’s overall quality.

Thankfully though The Woman King is still a hell of a film. It’s brutal, it’s brilliant and an interesting piece of history even if there is a revisionist touch to it.

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