The Woman King is a remarkable story starring Oscar-winner Viola Davis.
The Woman King stars Viola Davis as Nanisca, the general of the all-female group of warriors called the Agojie, who are sworn to protect the West African kingdom of Dahomey. The film follows the Agojie as they train a new generation of warriors to fight against the enemies and slavers who threaten their way of life. While many historical epics are extremely good or even great, they tend to be overlong and overdramatized. However, Gina Prince Bythewood’s newest film, The Woman King, is a perfectly paced blend of historical action, drama, and even occasional comedy.
Viola Davis is an established powerhouse of an actress.
We have come to expect greatness from the Oscar winner, so it’s no surprise that she’s excellent. In ‘The Woman King,’ Davis is in some of the best physical shape we have ever seen her in for her portrayal of Nanisca. She’s perfectly believable as the general of a highly intimidating and imposing group of soldiers. And while Davis is fantastic, she has a spectacular group of supporting cast members who are each individually worthy of their own praise.
Lashana Lynch is Izogie, a warrior who’s as charming as she is fierce. Lynch steals the show whenever she’s on screen, helping lighten the mood when the story gets heavy. While memorable in recent roles in ‘No Time to Die’ and ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,’ this is the film that showcases her talents. Thuso Mbedu and Sheila Atim are both memorable in their respective roles as Nawi and Amenza, and John Boyega appears as King Ghezo, in a welcome appearance outside the confines of a galaxy far, far away.
‘The Woman King’ contains some of the best action choreography seen onscreen this year.
A high bar is set early in the film when the Agojie ambushes a group of enemy soldiers in their camp at night. The fighting quickly flips between graceful and brutal, showcasing how skilled these warriors are. When the action steps aside to make room for drama, Bythewood’s skillful direction and the actors’ performances are enough to captivate the audience’s attention. The film was shot in Africa, making the landscapes and vistas a feast for the eyes.
I give The Woman King 4.5 out of 5 stars. The theatrical landscape is currently a bit quiet as we break between bombastic blockbusters dominating theaters during the summer. It is a highly welcome distraction from the glossy appearance of shoddy CGI and green screen combos that we have become accustomed to at the cinema. Great drama, action, and performances make for a wonderful time at the movies.