Queen & Slim (2019) Review

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RATING: 3/5

[SPOILERS]

After a run-in with a corrupt white cop, two African-Americans have to escape across the country.

A debut film for music video director “Melina Matsoukas.” Despite this project having its flaws, she definitely has the talent and skill to make some worthwhile projects in the future.

The performances in the film were all good. The two main characters of Queen & Slim, played by Jodie Turner-Smith and Daniel Kaluuya, did really nice work while they were on-screen. Their relationship was well understood and one wanted to see them escape to freedom badly.

All of the supporting characters in the movie were fine. I have to say my favorite was Queen’s Uncle Earl, played by Bokeem Woodbine. He delivered some of the funniest dialogue in the film.

The cinematography in the film was very nice. Whenever the two main leads were driving in the open stretch of road, I really like that. I liked the perspective shots from inside the car. There were some well-executed long takes, giving time for the audience to get immersed in the film. There aren’t any fast edits when things got serious. Though there was one instance when it was to keep pace with the music, which was cool too.

A large portion of the music I liked. Outside of “Runnin,” by “Pharcyde,” the rest of the soundtrack was filled with all sorts of selections that ranged from the retro/old-school or the young/hip.

In terms of the social message, it was clear and it is still very relevant to this day. Which was not trusting the corrupt system. It was not trusting the authorities or the media. The higher-ranking officials will do whatever they please while the lower-ranks don’t get a word out. As there were a few instances of the media fabricating some things about the two leads, mainly them being “armed and extremely dangerous.”

There was a protest that was shown for the support of the two. Something that is not far-fetched in the real-world. Although there was only one protest shown. For a manhunt that had been sweeping across the nation like wildfire, it would have been nice if the film dived deeper into the social impact. It would have been cool to see more images from social media or maybe more than one protest to show how real this can be. Because the movie seemed hollow when approaching this angle.

Also in the one protest, this scene would intercut between this and another depicting the leads making love. I wasn’t too fond of this because the two scenes had different tones that clashed with one another. One was serious and heartfelt, while the other was sexy. It came off as very jarring.

The plot was fairly simple like it doesn’t take any special turn or do anything new with this “Bonnie & Clyde” premise.

I wished the film would have shown the very start of the relationship.  Like, have a scene where one of the characters was waiting for the other outside of the diner. I think this would have made their deaths at the end more impactful. As it would have been a smooth development from beginning to end.

“Queen & Slim,” it was a film that one should definitely go out and see. As it had many aspects that many will cherish from, most definitely the social commentary sections. Again, with the issues I had with it, I’m curious as to what this new director has to offer and what projects she wishes to bring to life in the years to come.

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