Friday, November 29, 2019

Review: Queen & Slim

Release date: November 27, 2019
Running time: 132 minutes
Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Turner-Smith, Bokeem Woodbine 

Queen & Slim takes a very real--and unfortunately increasingly common in America today--situation and builds an eye opening, empowering Bonnie and Clyde-esque movie around it.  Good-natured young man Slim (Kaluuya) and attorney Queen (Turner-Smith) have an awkward first date and are about to call it a night when they are pulled over.  After a series of very human responses to some ridiculous questions from the officer, the cop then puts them in a situation that forces them to go on the run.  Their resulting journey is the main thrust of this movie and tells a tale of injustice and public perception that is all too common today.  

It is important that movies like Queen & Slim are made.  Personally, I am not afraid that I will get pulled over when I am driving simply because of how I look and I also am not concerned that people are judging me based on the color of my skin.  Movies like Queen & Slim not only give those who have no experiences with the types of injustices portrayed in the movie a window into what that can look like, but it also tells a story that focuses on black culture in America.  What Queen & Slim does so amazingly is that the story is 100% believable.  The situations portrayed in the film, both the initial one and the resulting escape from the law are not stylized in the way that Hollywood normally would.  There are no larger than life scenes or profound realizations, the movie simply gives those viewers a look into the complications that young black individuals face on a daily basis.  And it does so in a way that highlights the injustices and focuses on how that affects regular people.

Queen & Slim is well-written, with a very believable story line.  Director Melina Matsoukas crafted two very different main characters that feel like complete people, with all the complications and emotions that that brings.  Kaluuya and Turner-Smith complement each other perfectly throughout, and they go all in for their characters.  Some of the best moments are not even lines, just facial reactions that Kaluuya does perfectly.  All the good and bad decisions that occur in this film feel real and it allows the audience a greater view into this complicated situation.  

Queen & Slim gives a window into racial injustice in America, told through stellar performances, strong writing, and a commitment to realism that preaches a powerful message. 

Watch It

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