Queen & Slim (MA) - 132 minutes
A remarkable character study into blatant racism in America, this is Thelma & Louise for a new generation.
Set amidst the upheaval of modern-day, media-fueled America, Queen & Slim is a searing exploration of the country’s current social and political climate through the unfiltered lens of a defiant but life-affirming story of Black love.
While driving in Ohio on a forgettable first date together, a Black man – Slim (Get Out’sDaniel Kaluuya) – and a Black woman – Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith, in her first starring feature-film role) – are pulled over for a minor traffic infraction.
The situation escalates, with sudden and tragic results.
Terrified and fearing for their lives, the pair goes on the run.
The incident has been captured on video and goes viral as the couple unwittingly become a symbol of the climate of Black America. They stand for the pain, grief and trauma felt by so many.
As they drive across US, these two unlikely fugitives will discover more about themselves and each other in the most dire and desperate of circumstances.
In the process they forge a deep and powerful connection that will reveal their shared humanity and shape the rest of their lives.
Queen & Slim is a film that wears its heart on its sleeve and it makes no bones about that.
Regardless, the road trip is filled with delightful asides and surprises that elevate it far above the ordinary.
You witness the growth and maturation of a relationship under extraordinary duress over six days.
Two disparate souls become one.
Apart from a cracker script by Lena Waithe, from a story by James Frey and Waithe, Queen & Slim is distinguished by two outstanding performances and a number of other rich and colourful characters.
Kauuya, who established himself as an actor to watch in Get Out, presents credibly as a gentle soul with a kind heart.
As Queen – a feisty criminal defense lawyer with a troubled past –Turner-Smith puts in an eye-catching performance.
The sensitivity, playfulness and fear imbued in the movie by director Melina Matsoukas, who makes her feature film debut, are superb. She knows just when to press the right buttons. We – as viewers – are outraged.
Aiding the cause is the score by acclaimed musician Devonte Hynes, aka Blood Orange.
Queen & Slim is a piece of cinematic magic.
Rated M, it scores an 8½ out of 10.