Following their first date, Queen and Slim are forced to go on the run following an altercation during a ”routine” traffic stop.
Directed poignantly by Melina Matsoukas and written with purpose by Lena Waithe this film is, unfortunately, relevant and timely. It takes a look at racial relations within urban neighborhoods between the people who live there and the police force, with a specific glimpse into the world of police brutality and excessive force. This film does not work without the chemistry between Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith. Even when their characters are at odds you can still feel the emotional pull they have toward one another.
What makes this film special is not only the messages and themes, which are obviously important but also that this is a love story. It can slightly be compared to Deadpool in how that was a superhero movie but it also had a love story woven within it. Queen and Slim has an old school vibe to it where it can also be compared to the likes of Bonnie and Clyde but with Queen and Slim, it’s up to the audience to decide if they condone what our leads have done, unlike with Bonnie and Clyde who were easier to point to as criminals. Even though the film has an older feel it is extremely of today, including one of the best soundtracks of the year.
The issue with this film is that while it has moments of suspense and tension after a while it just feels like your watching a road trip story. And even though the road trip is essential to the love story it tends to halt the tension. The film at times feels smaller in scale than it wants to be; it is filled with necessary quiet moments. Unexpectedly the film has more comedic moments with some that work to cut through the tension and others that help lighten up our protagonists on their road trip to falling in love under some of the harshest of circumstances making them more relatable.
Overall, Queen and Slim is a film worth seeing that could be in the conversation during awards season. Honestly, it would be great if people went to the theater to support this given the communal experience does enhance the viewing. However, Queen and Slim is something you can watch at home and still feel the emotion and tension you are meant to.