The Woman King
It is Monday and a start of another wonderful week and I had one leftover from the weekend. With that I finished watching the new English film The Woman King. I have been on the lookout for films exploring different cultures and a part of world History. And so while I am acquainted with a lot of History from the region where I reside in, I admittedly know very little about World History from the 1800s. So while reading the synopsis of The Woman King, I got to know that the film set in the 1800s, tells us about the Kingdom of Dahomey in West Africa and their contributions towards eliminating slavery from their region. That definitely did get me all excited for the film. So then does The Woman King live upto my expectations, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Loosely based on true events, The Woman King follows the story of The Kingdom of Dahomey and their quest in eradicating slavery from their state. The story is powerful and presented as a massive action entertainer. The screenplay standing at 135 minutes is about the apt length for the drama.
The first thing that I did notice is the manner in which the African culture was represented through the costumes. That itself did give me an upbeat vibe to the drama that does open with elaborate action sequence. The choreography here was amazing and I was drawn into the drama almost instantly. There were no real jump cuts that would fool the audience, it was a rousing start to the drama that represented the warrior women community of Dahomey.
Slowly you are tactfully introduced to the background of the drama and the internal conflicts between two kingdoms one of which also does have a stake with the slavers. The drama is engrossing and interesting that will keep you engaged throughout. There are some interesting subplots including that of a young girl and her slowly evolved relationship with the protagonist that does add to the emotional quotient of the drama really well.
The drama may feel one-dimensional with any layers to it but the extravagant action combat sequences along with parts of self discovery and triumph more than compensate for the minor flaw. Also, the drama does well in dismantling the patriarchy in an effective manner. The events leading up to the final act are good and the final act is supremely satisfying. The outro rounds up the drama pretty well leaving you with a feeling of satisfaction and triumph. So overall, the screenplay is really well written and an absolute winner!
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are rousing and they do contribute to making the drama an impactful watch. The BGM captures the culture residing in its subtext really well. It is uplifting and blends really well with the drama. The cinematography is lavish and captures some beautiful frames wonderfully well. Even some of the combat sequences are captured in a breathtaking manner making me regret watching the film on the big screen. The action sequences are brilliantly choreographed and they will leave you on a high! Director Gina Prince-Bythe does a spectacular job in creating an engaging drama that is entertaining and rousing as well.
The performances are excellent here. John Boyega as King Ghezo has his moments to shine. Jordan Bolger as Malik is endearing and sincere in a touch underwritten role. Lashana Lynch as Izogie is first rate. Thusu Mbedu as Nawi is excellent with a sparkling presence onscreen. Viola Davis as Nanisca is the star of the show with a magnetic presence wherein she excels in emotional scenes as well as in scenes of combat.
The Woman King is a rousing majestic drama with spectacular performances. This one comes with my highest recommendation!