The Woman King (2022)

Based on actual events set in Africa around the 18th century, Agojie is a team of women warriors who protect the Kingdom of Dahomey. These women are highly trained, extraordinarily fierce and will do anything to protect those they serve and the people of Dahomey. The Agojie leader, Nanisca (Viola Davis), is a physically and mentally strong woman who displays boldness and courage in her calls for King Ghezo (John Boyega).

After Nanisca and her fellow warriors invade a campsite and rescue slaves, they learn more about their current enemy, including that they now carry weapons such as guns and are equipped with horses. Guns and horses are things that Dahomey does not use or have access to. Now the enemy of Dahomey is more powerful than ever, putting Dahomey at significant risk. Nanisca and her fellow warriors continue to take in new faces, training and moulding them to become warriors. One of these young girls is Nawi (Thuso Mdebu), who refuses a forced marriage with a man who is not only old but also highly abusive. As a result, Nawi’s father gives her to the king instead. Now, Nawi must train and learn with her fellow members and prepare for the ultimate battle for the sake of Dahomey.

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The Woman King is best described as a dramatic history film. The film contains action moments in a style reminiscent of Gladiator (2000), and there isn’t an extensive use of blood or gore here. Instead, the film’s tone and dramatic story create unsettling moments of tension. To my surprise, there are some moments of mystery, especially regarding Nanisca’s past and the upcoming warriors. These reveals were unexpected and unpredictable, heightening the story and increasing engagement from the audience.

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The performances here are powerful. Viola Davis is delivering a role unlike anything we’ve ever seen from her. While the actress always carries a strong screen presence no matter the film, it was truly delightful to see her tackle this character. Her character is given lots of dialogue that is always delivered powerfully, mainly as she trains newcomer Nawi. The side performance of Thuso Mdedu as Nawi is excellent as the audience discovers Dahomey through her eyes. Audiences also share her journey as she rediscovers herself and the strength within herself regardless of the past. I also admired Lashana Lynch’s performance as Izogie, and she delivers a character who is a mentor and warrior. I can’t deny that Lashana Lynch successfully brought a few comedic moments. Her unique, dramatic role was a significant praise point. The music score is uplifting and feels fitting throughout. Both dramatic moments and battle scenes are filled with a musical score that made me want to seek out the soundtrack. Costume designs are praise-worthy, and I found this area quite impressive.

As for any negatives with the film, there are sadly a couple of minor issues for me. Firstly, the film includes an unnecessary romance subplot with Nawi’s character, which seems to take up a fair bit of time. Speaking of time, I must also confess that I did check my watch at least once. Between the second and third acts, the film dragged far longer than I preferred, and the final moments felt like a struggle, almost as if the film were unsure how to end before the credits began to roll.

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Overall, packed with a powerful leading performance from actress Viola Davis and various impressive side performances, The Woman King, is a touching and gripping story with many pleasing and uplifting themes. The story is easy to invest in, and audiences are introduced to a convincing time period thanks to stunning costumes and a praiseworthy soundtrack. It was a pleasant surprise that this film managed to sneak in a few unexpected reveals; however, the runtime is noticeable, and I checked my wristwatch between the second and third acts. There’s also a subplot that drags the film on unnecessarily, and the final moments seem unsure of themselves. Nevertheless, with so much strength on-screen, I can’t deny The Woman King is still a wonderfully made film. I found myself feeling rather impressed by the entire cinematic experience. 

7.8/10

Rating: 4 out of 5.

26th October 2022
Written by Peter Walkden

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Set in a rural town in Georgia, American Siege follows several characters, including three young adults who decide to break into the home of a wealthy doctor and hold him hostage.  These young men believe that the doctor holds answers to questions they...

Return of the Pink Panther (1975)

A new case, same diamond!  When the priceless jewel, The Pink Panther, is stolen from a high-tech national museum, only one man can solve the crime.  Returning once again is Inspector Jacques Clouseau (Peter Sellers), but unfortunately, the Inspector has...

Studio 666 (2022)

In the present day, the famous band, Foo Fighters, are struggling to put their long-awaited tenth album together.  With desires to do something different and radical, the band’s lead, Dave Grohl, suggests they should record an album somewhere that sounds...

Jurassic Hunt (2021)

Have you ever wanted to hunt and kill a dinosaur in the wilderness?  Well, thanks to modern technology, the ultimate hunt is now available at a high price.  Those with the right skills and who are rich enough can be dropped into the wilderness to hunt...

Hive (2021)

Fahrije (Yllka Gashi) is dealing with several challenges each day.  Firstly Fahrije is concerned for her husband, who has been missing since the war in Kosovo.  She questions each day if he is alive somewhere, or worse, dead.  She desperately attempts...

Aline (2020)

Aline Dieu comes from a large family- by large, I mean she is the youngest of fourteen children.  Growing up, Aline discovers she has a wonderful singing voice and performs at selected family events.  Thanks to the support of her mother and family, Aline is...

Uncharted (2022)

Nathan Drake (Tom Holland) is a young man who works at a bar and has many skills, including understanding too much about history and being a general thief.  One night while working, Nathan is approached by a stranger named Victor Sullivan, also known as Sully...

A Stitch in Time (2022)

Liebe (Maggie Blinco) is an old woman who spends her days around the home or supporting her husband Duncan (Glenn Shorrock), who works as a singer at a local pub in NSW, Australia.  But when Liebe’s husband is fired, tensions in their relationship grow. ...

Drive My Car (2021)

Yusuke Kafuku (Hidetoshi Nishijima) is a professional stage actor and director.  The film opens with a deep look at Yusuke’s life, showing us his marriage and just how talented and committed he is to acting and performing.  His wife also enjoys dabbling in...

Crash (1996)

James (James Spader) is a man who works in the film industry as a TV director. James and his wife Catherine (Deborah Kara Unger) enjoy having wild and open relationships, which they often reveal to each other.  One day, while James is driving, he becomes...

Marry Me (2022)

It’s the biggest wedding event ever!  Music icons, Kat (Jennifer Lopez) and Bastian (Maluma) are planning to get married and launch their newest song, “Marry Me”, on a concert stage, an event which will be live-streamed to millions of viewers around the entire...

Blacklight (2022)

Travis Black (Liam Neeson) is a government FBI agent who works off the book and keeps his work under the radar.  He's the man you call when fellow FBI agents fall off the rails or require a desperate rescue.  Travis also lives alone, but he desires to...

Eddie Beyrouthy – Beyond the Wasteland (2021)

Walkden Entertainment (aka Peter Walkden) had the honour and pleasure of chatting with #EddieBeyrouthy who is the director, writer and producer of the upcoming Australian Documentary film #BeyondTheWasteland (2021). This film will be available exclusively in selected...

Beyond the Wastleand (2021)

Most movie lovers are familiar with the cinematic legend of Mad Max, which began with its first feature back in 1979, followed up by two more film instalments.  To this day, the franchise is classed as one of the greatest Australian film series ever made. ...

Moonfall (2022)

After a routine space mission goes wrong, Astronaut Brian Harper (Patrick Wilson) is stood down from active duty.  He claims that while he was in space, he witnessed something out of the ordinary, but sadly, there were no witnesses to this experience.  His...

Body Parts (1991)

Bill (Jeff Fahey) is a professional criminal psychologist with a passion and desire to understand better what makes a criminal commit horrific crimes.  Bill is also attempting to write a book but is struggling.  He even feels like he is failing to get...

India Sweets and Spices (2021)

After finishing another year at College, Alia (Sophia Ali) is home for summer with hopes of relaxing.  As Alia attempts to settle back in and reconnect with various family members and friends, she discovers a few major secrets about her parents and that elements...

Mike Manning – Slapface (2021)

Walkden Entertainment (aka Peter Walkden) had the honour and pleasure of chatting with #MikeManning, the actor and producer of the upcoming #Shudder Exclusive #Slapface (2021). Available from February 3rd! https://youtu.be/4vpkjjBEjns 31st January 2022 Presented by...

Slapface (2022)

Lucas (August Maturo) is a young boy trying to deal with the loss of his mother.  Often in trouble with the law, Lucas has been given multiple stern warnings by the local Sheriff (Dan Hedaya).  Lucas lives with his older brother, Tom (Mike Manning), but...

Reunion (2020)

A heavily pregnant young woman, Ellie (Emma Draper), returns to the family home after the death of her grandparents. Hoping to get stuck into some work on her new book (relating to all things black magic and the occult) she is sorely mistaken as she deals with her...

One Last Dance (2003)

After the death of a dance teacher occurs, a well-known dance company located in New York will soon be too broke to open its doors and will be forced to close.  The death of the dance instructor encourages a reunion of past dancers, Travis (Patrick Swayze),...

Parallel Mothers (2021)

Janis (Penelope Cruz) is a skilled fashion photographer.  While working, she meets Arturo (Israel Elejalde), who wins her heart after a few dates.  After several secretive meetings with Arturo, Janis' life changes dramatically when she falls pregnant and...

The Hating Game (2021)

Based on the popular book of the same name, The Hating Game introduces us to Lucy Hutton (Lucy Hale), who works for a book publishing company.  After a recent merger with another company, Lucy has been forced to share a large office with a co-worker, their desks...

Belle (2021)

The film follows a young 17-year-old high school girl named Suzu.  Suzu’s mother has passed away, and she feels sad and lost inside with each day that passes. While attending school, Suzu feels like a nobody and notices those who are more popular and successful...

Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street (2021)

Street Gang: How we Got to Sesame Street begins with a look back in time.  The year is 1981, and we are in New York City behind the scenes on the set of Sesame Street.  More than twelve million American children watch what goes on in Sesame Street on an...

Spencer (2022)

Set in 1991, Spencer follows Diana during her stay with the Royal Family at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England.  As the film opens, we gain a great understanding of Diana, including her general thoughts relating to the family and her current challenges in...

Gold (2022)

The world has changed dramatically in the near future and is now a desert-like wasteland.  We are introduced to a man with no name (Zac Efron) who is seeking work at a compound.  The duties that he will carry out are vague, but we understand the stranger...

Edoardo Vitaletti – The Last Thing Mary Saw (2021)

Walkden Entertainment (aka Peter Walkden) had the honour and pleasure of chatting with #EdoardoVitaletti, the director and writer of #TheLastThingMarySaw (2021). This film is available exclusively on #Shudder from January 20th! https://youtu.be/Za2vgLhb2vk 17th...

The Last Thing Mary Saw (2021)

Set in Southold, New York, in 1843 during winter, the film begins with the interrogation of a woman named Maiden Mary (Stefanie Scott).  Several mysterious deaths have occurred, including her grandmother at their family farm. Maiden Mary is blindfolded during the...

Scream (2022)

It’s been twenty-five years since Woodsboro suffered a series of horrific murders.  Now in the present day, a new Ghostface killer has surfaced with a desire to kill.  But this time, the killer’s motive’s seem to be connected to the town secrets and its...

The 355 (2022)

Imagine a device that could connect to anything and be powerful enough to begin World War III.  But an exchange has gone wrong, and now this top-secret weapon, created to destroy the world, is in the hands of a dangerous mercenary.  Now it’s up to a pair of...