When you think of sports movies, you think of inspiring, uplifting stories as one struggles to overcome the odds. Chess isn't exactly what comes to your mind when you would think about sports adaptable for the big screen. However, 'Queen of Katwe' shows that it can work, matching others with its great story.
David Oyelowo plays Robert Katende in what is one of the most likeable characters that you will see on the big screen this year. Oyelowo also shows his class as the unselfish Katende who just wants to improve the lives of the people in Katwe. His story is an intriguing one as he also faces dilemmas between him helping these kids and his personal life. Oyelowo brings the feeling that Katende really cares for these children in a touching performance, showing a good message that you should always look to help others.
This is very much so a different approach to a sports movie, as it is much more story based which much less action of the actual game. The film does a good job at creating the story around chess, but ultimately, the game itself isn't that interesting. Usually, in a sports movie, the finale has a dramatic ending with the final match packing a punch. Due to it being chess, you lose a lot of the drama and it doesn't really deliver that much. Luckily, the film doesn't rely on this much as the struggle of Phiona and her family does more than satisfy.
One main problem that the film has is that it seems to drag on a bit. There are a couple of events added to the story that does not need to be. It seemed in the last third that they were prolonging the film just to get it to be two hours long. If the film cut some of this out, it still would've been equally as effective. However, too many subplots are added and it ultimately hurts the movie. You end up waiting for the uplifting ending but it just seems to drag. The film seems to try and make it more dramatic, but with the subject matter and main story, it already did enough to create an uplifting story. More is less and that was the case, particularly with this film.
Overall, 'Queen of Katwe' is a good, uplifting story that you may not be used to. Nyong'o and Oyelowo both do great jobs that elevate the film. However, there seems to be too much added to the film which causes it to drag at times. A film worth seeing that will impact in some way.
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