queen & slim
DIRECTOR: Melina Matsoukas (debut)
STARRING: Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Turner-Smith, Bokeem Woodbine and ChloE Sevigny
REVIEWER: lyall carter
A couple's first date takes an unexpected turn when a police officer pulls them over.
Queen & Slim is one of those rare movies that I knew very little about. The most I knew about it was seeing the poster. No trailers, no interviews with the cast; nothing. And to be honest, even though I love movie trailers, I kinda liked going into this movie blind. Even though the film feels a little long, make no doubt about it Queen & Slim is a thundering film of great power, critiquing the unjust societal power structures.
Slim and Queen's first date takes an unexpected turn when a policeman pulls them over for a minor traffic violation. When the situation escalates, Slim takes the officer's gun and shoots him in self-defence. Now labelled cop killers in the media, Slim and Queen feel that they have no choice but to go on the run and evade the law. When a video of the incident goes viral, the unwitting outlaws soon become a symbol of trauma, terror, grief and pain for people all across the country.
Straight out of the blocks Queen & Slim grabs your attention by the throat. The speed and ferocity with which the situation escalates is intense. It's pedal to the metal kinda stuff throughout the first act. But the rest of the film slows down so much so that sometimes it feels like they’ve got their foot square on the break.
It's not just that it's an abrupt change from the opening, scenes in movies are paced differently all the time, but some audiences may find the film a little slow. But within that pace the film aptly dissects the unjust societal structures that not only face Queen & Slim but African Americans in general.
Daniel Kaluuya continues his impressive form and delivers a nuanced performance that is simmering with power. But its relative unknown Jodie Turner-Smith that steals the show giving a thundering performance.
Thundering performances and a searing critique of the unjust societal structures don’t quite make up for a film that at times feels somewhat drawn out.