30 November 2019 | paul-allaer
Road movie and relationship drama with social undercurrent
As "Queen & Slim" (2019 release; 132 min.) opens, we get to know these two characters, as they are on their first dinner date in Cleveland. Afterwards, they get pulled over by a blatantly racist cop. The tension mounts and when the cop shoots Queen, Slims dives into the cop and in the ensuing struggle, shoots and kills the cop.Terrified by what has happened, they decide to takeoff and drive to New Orleans, where Queen's uncle lives... At this point we are 10 minutes into the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you will just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this is the feature length debut of director Melina Matsoukas, well known for her many music videos (Beyoncé, Jay Z). Here she brings the courtship of Queen and Slim In the form of a road movie, pure and simple. After the initial shock of the opening 10 minutes, the movie takes a decidedly different tone as this is more about the budding relationship between these two then it is about excessive police force against unarmed African Americans. In that sense, the movie's trailer is a bit misleading as that clearly emphasized the racial tensions and related social issues. The other issue I have is that at two hours and a quarter hour, the movie is just too long for its own good. A tighter edit could've trimmed 15 to 20 minutes without the movie losing any of its essence. Daniel Kaluuya as Slim and newcomer Jodie Turner-Smith as Queen are terrific in the lead roles. Keep your eye out for a short (less than 5 minutes) appearance by Chloë Savigny and an almost unrecognizable Flea as her husband.
"Queen & Slim" Open wide on Thanksgiving weekend. The Thanksgiving day matinee screening where I saw this at was attended dismally (two people including myself), which quite surprised me. If you have any Interest In seeing a road movie of a very different kind, with strong romantic and social undercurrent, I readily suggest you check this out, be at in the theater, on VOD, or eventually on DVD and Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.