The Woman King

The Woman King ★★★

One of the many tragic consequences of European imperialism is the loss of knowledge about the cultures and history of Africa. Many stories and peoples from African history have become largely forgotten, or at least rarely get exposure in the mainstream. The Woman King therefore has an interesting setup, telling a story about a part of history that few are aware of. However it is a very Hollywood version of history, sidestepping reality for hyperbolic action scenes and cheesy drama. Not that the movie has to be accurate, but it isn't fun enough or impressive enough to justify its mediocre plotting. The film is just a bit bland. It's visually very flat, and the night scenes look especially poor and murky. There are various contrived subplots which are predictable and stale, which takes away from the unique opportunity this premise provided. Plenty of the best moments come from when the film deals with the slave trade and the nuances of how it operated within the economics of Africa at the time. The Woman King may not be an accurate movie, but it's willing to interrogate history a little. The Woman King is a decent film and it has a solid foundation which allows it to feel fresh even as it falls completely to cliché. I didn't get what I wanted out of the film, but I'm sure for others it delivers more than enough.

2022 Ranked

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