Review: 'Lions Among Men' Tuesday 10 January, 2012
As many of you may know, we (Adam and Savanna) also write for an entertainment website, Picktainment. We were recently invited to screen and review Lions Among Men, a short film which features our very own Thresh, Dayo Okeniyi, as the character Tau. Since most of you probably haven’t seen Dayo in anything before, we thought you might be interested in our review! We’ve included the first few paragraphs below; to read the rest, you can head on over to Picktainment.
What we couldn’t really say in our review: Though we never doubted him, after seeing Dayo in this role, we are so unbelievably confident in his ability to portray Thresh with the sensitivity and intelligence that we think the part requires. We’re more excited than ever now to see his interpretation of Rue’s district partner!
Set against the repressive backdrop of the early 1800s, Lions Among Men — a short directed by Traci Hays that’s currently on the festival circuit — is an unexpectedly moving tale of nautical intrigue, gender and race retribution, and the exaltation of freedom as a primal expression.
Our protagonist, Victoria, is a member of the British Royal Navy, having disguised herself as a man in order to don the uniform. This can’t have been an easy feat, and we never learn why she’s gone to such great lengths to serve her country — a mystery that makes her character all the more intriguing. Was she running away from something — or someone? Was her desire to fight injustice so great that she was willing to brave anything? (The idea of a woman dressed as a man after shipwreck summons comparisons to Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, though the subtle difference here is that, in Lions Among Men, the shipwreck reveals her true identity.)
When the ship she’s traveling upon capsizes while in pursuit of an illegal slave-trading vessel, Victoria finds herself marooned on an island with the only apparent survivors of the wreck: Simon (Jonah Priour), a slave trader who dehumanizes Victoria as much as the people his ship was carrying; Lieutenant Fletcher (Crispian Belfrage), who betrays Victoria by making no attempt to fulfill his duty and apprehend Simon; and Tau, a West African captive from Simon’s ship who merely wants to be free.