Queen & Slim: Film Review

If you’ve seen Bonnie & Clyde or Thelma & Louise then you’ve got some idea of what you’re getting with Queen & Slim. It has a similar premise – wanted criminals on the run – but it feels different, fresh and timely.

The film begins with Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) and Slim (Daniel Kaluuya) on an awkward first Tinder date. When he drives her home, it seems unlikely they will ever meet up again, but all that changes in a flash when they’re pulled over by a police officer. After the traffic stop goes wrong and the officer winds up dead, they go on the run.

The screenplay Lena Waithe wrote is outstanding. I was hooked on the dynamic between the duo immediately because their conversation on their date captivated me from the get-go. I wanted to know more about these people. The characters are so well written, particularly Queen. She is an independent lawyer who likes being alone and she is forced to be with the teetotal, religious, family man Slim even though she wouldn’t have gone out with him again. Their relationship begins as combative, blaming each other for the mess they’re in, but they eventually realise that this is their life now and they need each other to survive. I loved watching how their relationship changed throughout the movie and learning new nuggets of information about each of them.

The lead performances were also impressive. I was already a fan of Kaluuya’s but now Turner-Smith is on my radar. Her character gets more emotional range in the film and she was so good. It did annoy me how impractical her getaway outfit was though – a tiny dress and heeled boots?! Doesn’t she feel the cold?!

It’s not a perfect film. The beginning and end are fantastic, but the pace really lags in the middle and it started to feel too long. I was so captivated at the start but my concentration and interest lessened as it went on, although it perked up when they met Angela’s Uncle Earl (Bokeem Woodbine) and his friends Mr and Mrs. Shepherd (Flea and Chloe Sevigny). Thankfully it builds to a climax which is powerful and moving despite being fairly predictable.

Queen & Slim is a cool, stylish take on the fugitive story with terrific performances and chemistry between the two leads.

In cinemas Friday 31st January

Rating: 4/5

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