A still from ‘The Woman King’ Photo credit: Sony Pictures
It’s no surprise that director Gina Prince-Bythode has calculated. Last of the Mohicans, BraveAnd Gladiator As inspiration for electricity A female king. All the action and adventure in these movies is driven by strong black women rather than white saviors.
Woman King (English)
Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
The cast: Viola Davis, Thoso Embido, Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atim, Hero Fanez Tiffin, John Boyega
Run time: 135 minutes
The story lineSet in 1823 in West Africa against the war between Oyo and Dahomey, the story of Naneska, a powerful Aguji warrior, and a newly recruited Na’vi.
In 1823, the West African kingdom of Dahomey has a new ruler, King Gezo (John Boyega). While the Oyo Empire is all-powerful, Dahomey has a weapon of its own, the Agoji, a group of highly trained female warriors.
Slaves buy men, women and children from African rulers in exchange for guns and money. General Naneska (Viola Davis) leads a raid and rescues two women captured by Oyo.
While training a new batch of women to face Oyo’s impending vengeance, Naneska meets Nawi (Thusu Mbidu), a willful girl whose father hands her over to Agoji because he wants her. Unwilling to marry men chosen for — Na’vi reasonably refuses to marry anyone who would lay hands on her.
The training sequences are touching and thrilling in equal measure. Navi finds a friend in the battle-hardened Izugi (Leshana Lynch). She helps fellow student Fumbe (Masali Baduza) even at the risk of losing her hard-won advantage in the finals.
When the Portuguese slave, Santo Ferreira (Hero Fenice Tiffin) and his friend, Malik (Jordan Bolger), whose mother was a Dahomean, arrive as part of an Oyo party, all sorts of events are set in motion. I also include Navi’s friendship with Malik. Who, like every new era, have come to Dahomey to find their roots.
Davies is superb as Naniska, at once a regal general, resilient warrior, caring and vulnerable mother, shrewd politician, and laconic friend. Mbedu’s Nawi is probably a version of what Cora is from. Underground railway I will change. He’s a fitting foil for Naniska — unflappable, resourceful, loyal and respectable, as is Boyega as Naniska’s king, smart enough to surround himself with experts.
one more Underground railway alum, Sheila Atim, plays Aminza, Nanisca’s oldest and most trusted friend. Apart from strong allies and friends, Naneska also needs a true villain and he is provided in the domineering, brooding General Oba Ade (Jimmy Odukoya).
Maria Bello conceived the story on a visit to Benin where she learned the history of Aguji who defended Dahomey from 17 Th Century to 19th Th The turn-of-the-century costumes are stunning (with the jewelry to die for), the towering cast conveys effortlessly evanescent grandeur and the fights are deliciously heart-stopping.
The cinematography is thoughtful, not trying to look exotic or other Africa amidst the beautiful lush frames. That hint of a trunk and wise, gray eyes were just the right side of emotional. While there have been grumblings about historical accuracy, A female king A historical adventure of the best kind.
Woman King is currently playing in theaters.