Have been you ever been on a blind date via an online dating platform and wondered how it would start or finish? Would he or she become your best friend, the love of your life or someone you would vow to never see or hear from again? Well, director Melina Matsoukas along with Screenwriters Lena Waithe and James Frey introduce us to Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) and Slim (Daniel Kaluuya), who take us on an epic road trip of with chocolaticity at its finest while making numerous social conscious commentary via cinema.
What starts out as an awkward first date full of banter and off-colored flirting, quickly goes awry when what should’ve been a simple, cut and dry encounter with law enforcement turns into a Bonnie & Cyde-esque run for their lives. After all, we all know what happens when you are a person of color in this country accused of shooting down a police officer whether it is in self-defense or not. Unlike Bonnie & Clyde, these two young law-biding citizens are not criminals, but victims of the most unfortunate circumstance possible.
Beautifully and exquisitely shot, the opening wide shot sets the tone perfectly. Matsoukas uses her music video background to make Queen & Slim interesting, yet intriguing. Particularly, with the cinematic infusion of voices over action creating a fresh method to propel the story. In addition to keeping the story current, Waithe and Fry infuse many different sides of black diaspora in the form of religious beliefs, stereotypes, and exposing idiocyncrasies not normally associated with people of color (like how annoying loud Slim chews his food for example) and show a black woman takes control as opposed to vice-versa.
For me, I was uber excited to see two leads in a film that were chocolate, smart, sexy and have dialogue they way my friends and family speak with one another. Two leads that were talented and underestimated within the landscape of Hollywood norms and have now proven that audiences are open to seeing something different. Performances by Jodie Turner-Smith, Daniel Kaluuya, Bokeem Woodbine and Indya Moore are all quite solid and heartfelt. It also bears mentioning that the writers infused many references to historical reference associated with people of color like the bar Q&S make a pit stop to called “The Underground’ amongst a few other Easter eggs.
Queen & Slim is not without its flaws, but if you are a person of color, it will be refreshing at best to see yourself represented on screen as close to reality as we can get…for once. Let them become part of your cinematic legacy when the Universal Pictures, BRON studios’ Queen & Slim hit theatres on November 27th.