Moderator / Reviewer
- Apr 4, 2017
My AV System
- Preamp, Processor or Receiver
- Yamaha TRS-7850 Atmos Receiver
- Other Amp
- Peavy IPR 3000 for subs
- Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
- Sony ubx800 4K UHD Player
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- 2x Marty subs (full size with SI 18's)
- Video Display Device
- Sony 85 inch X950H FALD TV
Queen & Slim has been hailed as the next great all black film, as it as written by a queer black woman, directed by someone of the same ancestry, starring black people, set against black people, and dealing with the ideas of social injustice against black people. Every review I could see on theatrical opening night was how it was the most snubbed movie of the Oscars, and how it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Then there was the opposite who thought it was complete garbage and not worthy of seeing. Honestly, It was a little bit of both. Lena Waithe (Ready Player One) digs into some social issues that are hot spots today, and while I’m sure she and Matsoukas believe that their film was deserving of an Oscar, I can certainly see why it wasn’t even nominate really. The story is clunky, and Waithe pushes a political narrative without ever really fleshing out the characters. It plays like Bonnie & Clyde, but fails as both social commentary and thrilling crime drama due to the weak direction. It’s an OK movie, and one that has a hard time really deciding what it wants to be.
Queen & Slim deals with serious subjects. In this case it’s racism and the hot spot that is the debate over police shootings of African Americans over the years. However, it deals with it a bit lightly for the first 15 minutes or so. While we never hear the terms “Queen” and “Slim” throughout the movie (it’s given to the martyrs during the ending credits) the two are introduced to us right off the bat. Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) and Slim (Daniel Kaluuya) are eating at a late night diner in Southern Ohio for a rather awkward Tinder date. The two obviously have nothing in common, and the date is going poorly. Slim is a laid back guy with a sweet disposition, while Queen is a bit of a snooty and high strung lawyer who just went out with him because she had a bad day when one of her clients was sentenced. The date naturally comes to a close, and Slim drives her back to her place, only to get sidelined by a police cruiser.
Yup, you guessed it. The cop (played by Sturgill Simpson) isn’t your typical racist cop you see in this situations. Neither is he twitchy fingered and a nervous rookie. Instead he’s a plain psychopath (seriously, from the way he’s portrayed I’m shocked he doesn’t cap people every night!) who beats the young man around and whips a gun to his head for no apparent reason. A slight altercation ensues and Slim is forced to grab the officers gun and shoot him when the cop randomly puts a bullet in Queen. Here’s where the movie switches from cute rom-com to horror/thriller. Queen “knows the system” (rolleyes) and throws away her entire life and career to just “run!” as she tells Slim. He wants to turn himself in and explain the situation and hope for a dash cam or body cam captured the whole thing, claiming he’s not a criminal. “You are now” Queen states, and the two head out on the road desperately thinking of a plan to get out of the country.
Sadly one of the most tone deaf scenes in the entire movie is the son of the auto mechanic who lectured them. The young boy idolizes them and attends a violent protest over the police chase of the duo (seriously, the dash cam proves everything and is being played over the news 24/7, yet they’re still going after them guns blazing), and ends up point blank executing a black officer so that he can “be like them”. Supposedly according to interviews with Lena there was supposed to be a scene where it’s stated that the officer had family too and was as much a victim as Queen & Slim, but the movie skips that sequence, instead making it seem like the kid is just sticking up for the two by executing a cop who did nothing wrong.
Rated PG for action/peril and some thematic elements
4K Video: Video:
• A Deeper Meaning - Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Turner-Smith and filmmakers discuss the complicated journeys of Queen & Slim and explore the deeper meanings of how far these characters have come from where they began.
• Melina & Lena - A behind-the-scenes look at the creative partnership between director/producer
• Melina Matsoukas and screenwriter/producer Lena Waithe.
• Off The Script - Screenwriter Lena Waithe reads from her original screenplay for Queen & Slim.
• On The Run With Queen & Slim - Go behind the scenes with the cast and crew of Queen & Slim as they film in Cleveland and New Orleans.
Queen & Slim is a movie that exemplifies what happens when you put your characters and message up as a political statement first and foremost, and worry about fleshing out the narrative later. The film is gorgeously filmed (so much so that it sort of makes up for some of the deficiencies in the script), but it beats you over the head with the message of police brutality without really making a case for WHY they’re beating you over the head with it. Everyone involved in the whole situation seems to be at fault from the two on the run, to the cops, to even the people who help/hinder them. It’s a frustrating thing to want to like a movie and yet still see major flaws in it. Especially when the cinematography is so sumptuous. The disc itself is stunning, with great video, good audio and a decent amount of extras to pad out the release. Rental would be my personal take on it.
Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Turner-Smith, Bokeem Woodbine, Chloe Sevigny, Flea, Sturgill Simpson, Benito Martinez
Directed by: Melina Matsoukas
Written by: Lena Waithe, James Frey
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 HEVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Core), Spanish DD 5.1, English DVS
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Runtime: 133 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: March 3rd, 2020