I saw this a few weeks ago, before the planet went south, so I haven’t had time to write up what I thought about it. Anyway, I’ve certainly got the time now, so here’s a very tardy review of Queen and Slim.
Our two heroes find themselves on the run after a blind date ends with Slim shooting a police officer in self-defence. Understandably, the pair decide that turning themselves in will end in never seeing the light of day ever again, so they embark on a doomed road trip in a bid to get out of the country.
Now a few people describe the characters as a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde, which they’re not: Bonnie and Clyde were as guilty as sin, whereas these two were victims of horrendous bad luck. (I mean what are the chances of running into a racist police officer on a night out …). I lean more towards the ‘Thelma and Louise’ line of thinking: victims of circumstance who compound the problem with a series of bad decisions and new-found love and loyalty to one another.
The problem with a film like this is that you know pretty well from the first ten minutes how it’s going to end, so you’d better make sure that you have pretty good story to tell along the way. Fortunately, Lena Waithe, the writer and producer has a great screenplay, which is a little understated, relying on the huge talents of Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith to bring it to life. The film is not huge on action, but does manage to pack in plenty of tension. It relies a lot on wealth of diverse characters to keep things moving, along with the growing intensity between the two main players. Still it did seem to grind to a halt in one or two places, which sometimes made me feel that it lost pace and became a little bit disjointed.
However, that shouldn’t put you off from seeing it (though you probably can’t right now!). Queen and Slim works well as a love story and a political statement. I doubt anyone will listen, but that doesn’t mean the message shouldn’t be heard.
Nine out of ten