“Well, if isn’t the black Bonnie and Clyde.” – Earl (Bokeem Woodbine)
As powerful as the line is for so many reasons, our protagonist lovers aren’t career criminals. They’re victims of circumstance. As an artistic twist upon police brutality, QUEEN & SLIM exposes social commentary in a revolutionary way of justice vs. just us – and trust me, this won’t go without praise or ridicule! Just watch…
The film follows the aftermath of a Tinder date between two opposites: Slim (Daniel Kaluuya) and Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith). During a pull-over, the situation escalates, and ends with the death of a police officer in self-defense. Horrified and fearing for their lives, a God-fearing, laidback, retail employee (Slim), and a robust, Atheist, criminal defense lawyer (Queen), are forced to go on the run. Adding complication to their ordeal, the incident was captured on video, it goes viral, and the couple reluctantly become a symbol of yin and yang for people across the country.
Um… I’m not going to pull any punches. This film is going to live within me for a while. I absolutely loved it! Yes, it’s a bit long and some of its structure can be repetitive, but it’s worth it. As a directorial debut for Melina Matsoukas, her film is as bold as it is beautiful. Complimenting her direction is also thankful to writer Lena Waithe, whose script allows you to fall in love with both leads as you follow their evolution as a duo.
QUEEN & SLIM is an emotional journey with B-movie(esq) execution. It’s grungy and layered with interesting characters, whose links throughout the film serve as tentacles of heart, soul and support. Especially Woodbine, who’s the push that makes them move! The best thing about it is how ALL characters are humanized. The scope of it though places the audience in the shoes of our leads with every move needing to be precies no matter how harsh.
The effect is designed to be raw and with very little room for mishaps. Even more for a person-of-color who can see themselves in a similar situation. Not in the extent of the screenplay per se, but in a way where a biased world who prejudges, points a finger simply because you look or sound a certain way.
As a solid tension builder, Kaluuya and Turner-Smith present powerful performances with unique arcs for two unlikely fugitives who drastically discover themselves and each other in the most unique and terrifying of circumstances. Joining similar films like SET IT OFF or THELMA & LOUISE, QUEEN & SLIM is a string of consciousness piece displaying a unique love story that confronts the vile toll of racism and the price of unwanted violence.
Running along an interesting soundtrack and scenery that takes you from Ohio to Florida, QUEEN & SLIM is one of the most interesting, thought-provoking films I’ve seen this year. Not the best, but interesting. It’s got attitude, drama, comedy, style, grit, and its own cinematic personality. Sure, we’ve seen fugitive flicks before, but not like this. You’ll feel this film. Trust me. This one leaves its own footprint. Much like the one I viewed it with, other crowds will be split depending how they view our leads, but no matter what feelings it generates, it’s definitely one that’ll create tense chatter. Despite all that, QUEEN & SLIM deserves your respect and attention.
Genre: Crime, Drama
Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Turner-Smith, Bokeem Woodbine, Chloe Sevigny
Directed by Melina Matsoukas
Official Website: https://www.universalpictures.com/movies/queen-slim