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Beguiling performance from Thuso Mbedu in powerful and exciting The Woman King





FILM REVIEW: THE WOMAN KING (15) – SHOWING AT THE LIGHT CINEMA, WISBECH, SEEN AT THE LIGHT CINEMA

CAST: VIOLA DAVIS, THUSO MBEDU, LASHANA LYNCH, JOHN BOYEGA.

RUNNING TIME: 2 HR 15 MINS DIRECTOR: GINA PRINCE-BYTHEWOOD

The Woman King (59792943)
The Woman King (59792943)

A new star has arrived on the big screen, with South African actor Thuso Mbedu putting in a beguiling performance on her big screen debut.

Playing 19-year-old orphan warrior Nawi in this ‘based on history’ epic, the youthful-looking Mbedu, 31, absolutely steals the show.

It’s never easy to tackle stories set around the slave trade, but this movie gets the tone right while also telling a powerful and exciting tale.

The film centres on the Agojie, an all-female warrior unit that protected the West African kingdom of Dahomey (now the Republic of Benin) from the 17th to 19th centuries.

Set in the 1820s, it stars Viola Davis as General Nanisca, who trains the next generation of warriors to fight their enemies. Slavers from the Oyo Empire are targeting Dahomean citizens to sell to European and South American slave traders, which provokes King Ghezo (John Boyega ) into declaring war on the Oyo.

Among the new generation of warriors is strong-willed Nawi (Mbedu), who is given up to the unit by her father after she refuses an arranged marriage to a would-be wife beater.

Nawi is taken under the win of veteran trainer Izogie (Lashana Lynch) and soon becomes the unit’s top warrior as it prepares for war.

Academy-award winning Davis puts in a stellar performance as the tough-but-haunted leader, as does Boyega, of Star Wars fame.

But it’s Lynch and Mbedu who make this movie. James Bond star Lynch is captivating as the strong, focused and loyal Izogie, and her chemistry with young pupil Nawi is captivating.

Mbedu’s character is sweet yet vicious and serious but still mischievous. She owns the screen and on the occasions she breaks into her beautiful smile, you can’t help grinning with her.

The battle scenes are fierce but spare the viewer too much blood, there are a couple of great sub-plots involving the slavers and even some romance too as the movie speeds towards a triumphant ending and the crowning of the Woman King.

By Jeremy Ransome

Rating 8/10.



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