director: Swati Gupte Bhise (debut)
starring: devika bhise, rupert everett, jodhi may and derek jacobi
REVIEWER: lyall carter
Freedom fighter Rani of Jhansi shifts the balance of power by leading her people into battle against the British Empire in 1857 India.
Tales of heroic, women leaders of history very rarely grace the silver screen. Which is more the pity that Warrior Queen, even though it has a sumptuous production design, doesn’t quite hit the mark.
Warrior Queen tells the true story of Lakshmibai, a feminist icon in India and a fearless freedom fighter. She earned a reputation as the Joan of Arc of the East when in1857 India, as a 24-year old general, led her people into battle against the British Empire. Her insurrection shifted the balance of power in the region and set in motion the demise of the British East India Company and the beginning of the resistance against the ensuing British Raj under Queen Victoria.
Warrior Queen is a bit of a mixed bag narratively. With such a rich, wondrous story and character in Lakshmibai to draw on the film teters between corny dialogue and attempting to be like the epics of yesteryear like Lawrence of Arabia. Giving rousing speeches, like they did in those old epics, are not enough to get an audience emotionally invested into the characters.
The production design is filled with pageantry and colour but some of the cinematographic choices don’t lend to the scale or grandeur that the filmmakers appear to be going for.
Even though it has a sumptuous production design, Warrior Queen doesn’t quite hit the mark.