Film Review: Queen & Slim

09:11 December 09, 2019
By: David Vicari

Queen & Slim, which was partially shot in Louisiana, has been compared to Arthur Penn's Bonnie and Clyde (1967), but this comparison isn't at all correct. A character in Queen & Slim actually says, "A black Bonnie and Clyde," but he is being facetious. First off, Bonnie and Clyde are criminals, Slim and Queen are not. They are a young black couple with hopes and dreams which are ripped away because of prejudice against the color of their skin.

Their names are never said in the film and their names most probably aren't Queen or Slim. The reasoning, I feel, is that the filmmakers are saying that the two characters are an everyman and an everywoman in the black community and become legends.

She (Jodie Turner-Smith) is an attorney and has had a bad day on the job, so she decides to go out with this young man (Daniel Kaluuya) who she met through computer dating. This first date isn't going very well, as they don't seem to like each other. On the drive home they are stopped by an aggressive and racist police officer. The situation escalates and Slim kills the cop in self-defense. Immediately, they are on the run as a manhunt for them ensues.

Both Turner-Smith and Kaluuya do an excellent job of conveying that these characters are terrified and have come to the realization that their lives as they know it are over. Also, Bokeem Woodbine, as Queen's pimp uncle, delivers a colorful and layered performance.

Director Melina Matsoukas and screenwriter Lena Waithe drive their powerful tale of racial injustice with lyrical introspection akin to the films of Terrence Malick (Badlands, Days of Heaven), but Queen & Slim is its own original work.

β˜…β˜…β˜…½ stars (out of four)

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