The Woman King: Revisionism

2/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The story of an all-female warrior unit that fought to protect the Kingdom of Dahomey.

I thought this film was at times a slog to get through. I know that historical epics are often on for a long time and feel like a mammoth task to watch, but this film just seemed to never end. I think there are a lot of scenes which could have been cut from this film that would improve it and make the pacing better.

Moreover, I didn’t care for the historical revisionism that was in play within the film, with the fictious lead character, played by Viola Davis, trying to preach the evils of slavery to the King, played by John Boyega despite the fact that in real life Dahomey played a large role in the slave trade. To me this felt like the film was trying to virtue signal and rewrite history rather than deal with troublesome truths.

Additionally, a lot of the reviews I have read for this film praise its action, but I thought that the action actually looked quite bad. This can be seen to come down to two things, firstly that the sword hits never quite seemed to land and were often a few miles off, and secondly the choreography was just all over the place often challenging in baffling ways what people will believe to be realistic for a tale with real people not superheroes.

I would say the cast was a saving grace for the film. Lashana Lynch and Viola Davis both had a number of great moments and delivered instantly memorable performances. Both of their characters felt fully rounded and interesting to get to know.

Overall, a historical epic that has some interesting moments but mostly misses the mark

Pros

Davis

Lynch

Cons.

The fight scenes

The historical revisionism

The pacing  

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