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  • Writer's pictureMax Markowitz

Queen & Slim

Raw & Honest

Queen & Slim has been compared to Bonnie and Clyde multiple times by now. Queen & Slim is no Bonnie & Clyde, as the film is entirely its own journey. Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) and Slim’s (Daniel Kaluuya) first date takes a turn for the worst when a police officer pulls them over for a minor traffic stop. The situation soon turns dangerous and Slim kills the officer in self-defense. Feeling they have no choice but to go on the run, the pair take off as a video of the shooting goes viral. The two soon become a symbol of affliction and anguish for people across the country.

Jodie Turner-Smith’s breakthrough performance captured my full attention for the whole film. I for one strongly look forward to seeing her continue to blossom like a flower in any role she can get her hands on. She gives Queen the sunlight to her shadows of inner suffering. I really admire her intelligence and her ability to really see things as they are as opposed to how she would like them to be. She’s someone that has a very raw and very honest view of the world. She’s already hardened but not to the point where she’s lost her heart.

Kaluuya’s performance is like a butterfly that won’t fly. All the beauty is there and he’s trapped in a glass dome where that beauty becomes a moth you can pin on the wall. He’s not as hardened as Queen and his innocence and vulnerability become more refreshing as the two continue to find themselves out of their depth. Queen & Slim never have a moment’s peace so it’s very interesting as an audience to observe what specifically makes them tick. Queen tells Slim during their date that his eyes were sad and she felt sorry for him. She doesn’t say it in a condescending way. There’s a certain innocence to sadness that she would like to have, given the sad world she lives in and Kaluuya’s portrayal of that light helps bring out hers.

Tat Radcliffe’s cinematography sets all the right tones in all the right places. From the icy winter nights of Ohio to the cultural clubs of Louisiana to the turquoise waters of Florida, Radcliffe’s work gives Queen & Slim that refreshing feeling one gets when they leave one place and enter another. Queen & Slim’s not an easy film to watch but what film is anymore? There were only five people in the theater with my brother and I when we went to go see it. Queen & Slim is a phenomenal film so I’m not worried but it’s a film I’d really like to see do well at the box office. If you’re a cinephilia, I trust you’ll do your part and go see it.

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