‘Night of the Kings’ Review: Visually Stunning Fantasy, By Way of a Western African Prison

Male hierarchies inside prison walls are well-trod ground, from “Brute Force” and “Birdman of Alcatraz,” to “Papillon,” “Midnight Express,” and “The Shawshank Redemption.” But rarely is an entry as visually rapturous as West African filmmaker Philippe Lacôte’s “Night of the Kings,” which takes place inside the bowels of the infamous La MacA prison in Abidjan, a city on the south side of the Ivory Coast.

While the film, both written and directed by Lacôte, is grounded in oral traditions that may seem exotic to certain viewers, the movie is really about the universal power of storytelling regardless of tongue — and how it can be used as a way to survive.

Though hampered by some shaky third-act visual effects, “Night of the Kings” is through and through .When a young man is introduced into La MacA, he’s thrust into a dangerous and complicated world where the existentially and otherwise

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