Thursday, November 14, 2019

In theaters: Swati Bhise's would-be history lesson, THE WARRIOR QUEEN OF JHANSI

A more appropriate title might have been, The Warrior Queen of Nonsense, for this new British film from novice director Swati Bishe, THE WARRIOR QUEEN OF JHANSI is so like amateur-night-at-the-movies in so many ways that your eyes may glaze over long before the end credits roll. Full of exposition, and then more exposition, then even more exposition, the film does give us some history regarding British control of India, the notorious East India Company, and a supposedly very-upset-about-this-whole-awful-thing Queen Victoria, who keeps directing her underlings to do the right thing (of course they never do). But since the resulting movie looks so silly, paltry and mostly unbelievable throughout, we end up imagining that the history here may be as faulty as the manner in which it has been told. Unfair? Maybe, but there you go.

Because the movie also stars, in the role of the would-be warrior queen, Ms Bishe's (the director/co-writer is pictured at right) own daughter, Devika Bishe (shown below, who co-wrote this movie), the film has all the markings of a vanity production.

The younger Bishe is a nice-looking young woman but nowhere near a good enough actress to embody this warrior queen. She is also not helped by "action" scenes that border on dreadful and a "warrior-women-in-training" scene that is even worse.

Literally all of the film's best scenes involve very good Brit thespians who give their all to the less-than-sterling expository dialog with which they are "blessed." These include the likes of Jodhi May as the Queen, Derek Jacobi as Lord Palmerston, Rupert Everett as Sir Hugh Rose, Nathaniel Parker as the mustache-twirling villain Sir Robert Hamilton, and Ben Lamb as the Brit good guy Major Robert Ellis. These pros will keep you awake, at least.

My biggest question after viewing this film: Why is it even getting a theatrical release? And from Roadside Attractions, yet -- the company that only recently gave us that better bit of Oscar bait, Judy? Perhaps it is smarter not to speculate.

In any case, The Warrior Queen of Jhansi -- in English and running 102 minutes -- opens tomorrow, Friday, November 15, here in South Florida in the Miami area at the AMC Aventura 24 and Sunset Place 24, and at the Regal Sawgrass 23 in Sunrise.

To learn if and where the movie is playing near you, click here and follow through.

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