We Believe in the Dahomey (The Woman King Review)



PROLOGUE


It's time for Americans to realize the untold truth. Ignorant to African history; the prestige, wealth, pride and unification of people. "Woke" culture has consumed the United States of America. "Woke" must not equal "Truth". Telling and recounting moments in time that have existed for centuries unleashes the innerworkings of the mind. There are two roads being taken: "The road less traveled", and the road of capitalization and exploitation. Creating false societal narratives in the media does not benefit those who feel they have been barred from prosperity in reality. Because in the end, the pieces of the chess board are still in the possession of the player. You may be a king on the board, but the technicality is that you're still just a moveable piece on the board. There most likely won't ever be anymore chess pieces created, but there can be more chess players. This film allows Black Americans to see this-- no... believe this.


Why do we feel it is okay to replace and manipulate previous works of art? Changing the nature of art changes the piece. Plagiarizing and washing the core values. The double standard that it is okay for one group of people to do it, and the other to be scrutinized for such actions is remedial. Culture may lie in all things. To say one culture is more important than the other, or to say one culture may not exist at all, or to say both cannot co-exist is immature and untrue. All of the chess pieces remain the same, but we, the players, can truly make a difference if we try. It's time for all of history to be recognized. In the U.S.A. we have the resources to understand this. We do not because of pride, hurt and to press the notion that "ignorance is bliss". It's not.



 


Viola Davis leads a charge of Dahomey warriors, both male and female, as the General, Nanisca, of the All-Female regime of the Dahomey army. The screenplay shows the audience a clear "point A to point B" script that allows us to understand why each character exists, and the reasoning for each character's actions. Each character had a clear purpose for being a part of the film. Finding truth from a society to contrive a story that paints a realistic, wholesome picture that is more than obtainable in the mind if you truly believe it to be. Bringing to be a front-runner {Jacob Hollingsworth Network Endorsed} for Best Supporting Actress potential candidate, Thuso Mbedu. Nawi (Thuso) displays the true meaning of the film as she turns each corner in each scene with powerful facial expression that shows the power of the mind. Non-disclosing her intent when first meeting Malik (Jordan Bolger) by maintaining distance and steadiness, and exposing her intentions with her sisters of the Dahomey by being attentive and assertive without clear warning. Standing toe-to-toe with our lead, Viola Davis, Thuso shines in every possible moment to do so. We knew who the women of the "Amazonian Army" were, and we believed them and their existence, because they all had purpose. Writing these types of screenplays isn't the risk it once was, but it's a risk that hasn't been taken yet... until now.


The Action scenes were well thought out for the majority of the film. There was a point in the climatic action scene that was quite non-believable, but most action sequences were strategically planned through a realistic lens and understanding of combat. The women would generally fight through tact and skill from experience and training. The encounters were convincing; attacking from underneath and using the oppositions strength against them. Breaking down an enemy from the ankles on up. Perfect choreography.




The Cinematography and editing left room for improvement. There was a significant lack of consistency in unique shots that caused expression of amazement. There was also a large amount of unplanned shaking of the camera rigs. Shots would often cut too quickly before we could draw a vivid delineation. So, the cinematography team seemingly did not capture some of the great fights from the proper direction. Unique shots were scarce, but they were truly beautiful, mind-bending and defining. When Nawi sat at the edge of the bed in her one-on-one scene with Malik, the camera caught a shot of Nawi's dark presence-- not blocking, but overshadowing and outshining the light from outside of the window parallel to her position on the bed from behind her. Captivating.


Emotional connection was much stronger than the spiritual premise of the movie, yet both had an impact. Relation could be drawn from the hopes and dreams of the cast. We believed in Nanisca's hopes and dreams. We believed in Inzogie's vision. Inzogie (Lashana Lynch) had the strongest identity turnover. She started brash and cold. By the end, she was loving and caring. A simple and often seen emotional progression, but when paired with impressive acting and connected with Nawi in a wide number of scenes, we felt for Inzogie more. Nanisca's prayers were relatable and given pivotal screen time alone, and with her longtime companion Amenza (Sheila Atim). We all want that one friend who stands by our sides through every prayer. Amenza was that for Nanisca.

You could certainly find yourself "choked up" by the end of this film. Powering the resolution was King Ghezo's (John Boyega) powerful speech meant for the audience that poured out of the screen. Intelligently placed and written. It inspired hope and self-worth. Attempting to unveil the power hidden deep within us. The speech may have been on screen "for the Dahomey", but the clear objective was for the Black American. Hopefully, people see this as more than just a movie.