Film review: Queen and Slim

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.

I want this picture on a T=shirt

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

Dracula (the BBC’s 2020 take)

Well, having being pretty unimpressed with the extraordinarily dull and desperate War of the Worlds, and falling asleep (twice!) during the new year’s episode of Doctor Who, I wasn’t expecting too much from Dracula. I mean, it’s a well-worn story and given their recent form, I wasn’t sure the BBC was going to do it justice.

Turns out I was wrong. This was the most polished piece of dramatic writing I’ve seen from the BBC since Killing Eve, and I suspect there’s a good reason for that.

But before we start on the writing, let’s talk about the genius leads: Claes Bang and Dolly Wells.

Continue reading “Dracula (the BBC’s 2020 take)”

When Fortune N’tobe Fell from the Stars

If you glance over to the sidebar – that’s it; near the top, just after the recent posts section – you’ll notice that something has changed (aside from finally updating the icons for Apple Books).

Yes, it’s finally here: book number four. A novella (only 40,000 words or thereabouts).

I took a writing break after The Quisling Orchid and just focussed on short stories and reviews. Book 3 was an expensive effort in terms of time, brain space and money, so I thought I’d dial it back a bit.

Fortune started out as a collection of short stories about life in Soweto, something I could read to my mum while she was in hospital. Unfortunately, my mum didn’t recover away, so I didn’t want to carry on with the book.

A few people who’d read the unfinished version said they’d like to see how it ended, and hoped that I’d pick it up again, eventually. ‘Time’s a great healer, Dom.’

Well, they say that, but it doesn’t apply to everyone, so the book stayed in the drawer (metaphorically speaking; it actually stayed halfway down the tree in Ulysses) for a couple more years.

I think it was a combination of things that finally got me to dust it off (metaphorically speaking; I actually just opened the folder in Ulysses and started typing):

  1. Last July (2019) there was an incident in which a body fell from the undercarriage of a plane approaching Heathrow, so I sort of thought it was a story that needed to be told.
  2. I’d like to think my mother didn’t raise a son who didn’t finish something he’d started.

Besides, good writing is supposed to hurt, isn’t it?