In the realm of cinematic portrayals of Boudica, the formidable Iceni queen who rose against Roman colonizers in ancient Britain, Leslie Felperin explores the latest addition to the limited repertoire. While the historical figure is a compelling feminist icon, the film fails to capture her essence, resembling more of a home movie than a grand epic.
Ukrainian-French actor Olga Kurylenko takes on the role of Boudica, but her portrayal lacks the majestic strength required for such a formidable character. Felperin acknowledges Kurylenko’s passable performances in the past but asserts that this is one of her worst turns, emphasizing the crucial need for an actor to project both majesty and grit in a role of this nature.
The article suggests that Kurylenko’s performance falls flat, comparing her grit to that of a “used sponge” and highlighting her feeble voice as particularly unconvincing during scenes where rallying troops with impassioned rhetoric is essential. Even in moments of despair, the film resorts to drowning out her yowls with tragic music, hinting at the filmmakers’ acknowledgment that the performance may not resonate with the audience.
Writer-director Jesse V Johnson’s shortcomings extend beyond Kurylenko’s performance to a lack of talent in dialogue. The article humorously notes that even a show like “Horrible Histories” carries more gravitas in comparison. However, it acknowledges Johnson’s expertise in choreographing fights and fisticuffs, a skill derived from his background as a stunt performer and coordinator. The film’s combat scenes, while sometimes reminiscent of a low-budget production, manage to provide some entertainment, particularly with the thwacking of swords and plunging of knives.
Despite the lackluster performance and dialogue, “Boudica” may still appeal to audiences for its action sequences, with the film set to release on digital platforms on October 30.