Review: Queen & Slim
This is not Bonnie and Clyde
Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) is an attorney having a rough day after a client is sentenced to death. Not wanting to be alone, she turns to Tinder and meets up with Slim. (Daniel Kaluuya) Their first date isn't exactly a home run on its own, then they are pulled over by a racist police officer who shoots Queen in the Leg, then is in turn shot by Slim in self defense. The two go on the run because they know they will never see justice.
I point out that they're not Bonnie and Clyde in my header because they're referred to that more than once in the film (but strangely, never as Queen and Slim, at least that I noticed) and these two could not be bigger opposites of those notorious criminals. They don't want to be murders. They never once sit back and enjoy any part of what happened. They didn't ask for the title of inspirational cop killers to be thrust upon them.
I'm quite torn on this. I'll freely admit when I don't understand something and I don't get some of the choices this film makes. I'm getting into spoiler territory here but it's the only way I can explain myself. Queen and Slim meet with a young boy who idolizes them for what they did. Then, in a scene that's intercut with the couple having sex, he goes to a rally to protest police violence on black people, then promptly picks a fight with a black cop, and shoots him in the face. It's such a bizarre choice especially when the previous scene with the boy was so moving. The ending was another massive head scratcher for me.
That's not to say this film is a lost cause. It's shot beautifully and has some of the best cinematography I've seen all year. Director Melina Matsoukas puts a lot of love into every set up, it's the script that isn't strong enough to meet her vision.
Kaluuya and Turner-Smith are wonderful and their characters' journey from awkward Tinder date to love story is the strongest part of the film. I just wish they had more to work with.
Memorable Quote: "I'm used to saying I'm fine when I'm not." - Slim (Daniel Kaluuya)