Reminiscent of Thelma and Louise, Queen & Slim centers on two decent people forced to go on the run. This time it isn’t rape that puts the road movie into gear, but unbridled racism. Ernest “Slim” Hinds (Daniel Kaluuya) and Angela “Queen” Johnson (Jodie Turner-Smith), he a retail employee and she a rising lawyer, have just wrapped a disastrous first date arranged on Tinder. The two have very little in common.
As Ernest is driving Angela home, they’re pulled over by a cop (country music star Sturgill Simpson) for a busted taillight. Once the police officer sees that the car’s occupants are black, he immediately starts treating them badly, asking questions and demanding they do things he wouldn’t ever ask a white person to do. While Ernest does his best to comply, Angela’s mind kicks into attorney mode–a heated argument erupts, the cop turns violent and Ernest kills him in self-defense.
Eager to forget each other just minutes before, Ernest and Angela must go on the lam together, avoiding law enforcement and getting help from those that offer. Angela’s Uncle Earle (Bookeem Woodbine) is the first to reluctantly offer help, but as video of the incident goes viral, it’s clear that many in the African American community support the them; tired of white cops killing African Americans. Screenwriter Lena Waithe isn’t afraid to bring in characters who feel like Ernest and Angela contributing to the violence against people of color. There’s nothing one sided about Queen & Slim, which gives it greater distinction among similar issue films that have an obvious objective.
Directed by Melina Matsoukas (a music video veteran making her feature film debut), delivers a well-paced film, conscious of each path the story takes. The only real yawn comes from a visit with a husband and wife played by Flea and Chloë Sevigny. Given the context though, that was probably the point.
Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith are both fantastic here. Kaluuya continues to show an ability to disappear into every role he plays. His performance is grounded and honest. A breakout performance for Turner-Smith, she brings a fierce attitude to her character and a commanding screen presence. While some of the film’s subplots feel underdeveloped, the performances of the two leads help to negate those weaknesses.
Filmed on 35mm film, Queen & Slim arrives on 4K with a stunning presentation. Clarity is first rate and details are never an afterthought. Depth is handled well throughout. Since quite a bit of the film takes place at night, naturally black levels are superb. No details are lost to crush. Colors throughout the film are gorgeous. Flesh tones look natural throughout. There are no artifacts or noise to speak of.
The films Dolby Atmos soundtrack provides an impressive experience. Dialogue is front and center. The music and environmental sounds add a nice level of depth to the track. Surrounds are used largely for additional ambient sounds. The mix is balanced well. Dialogue is clean,clear and concise throughout.
English SDH and Spanish subtitles are included.
The extras are included on the 4K disc and presented in 4K.
- Audio Commentary with Director Melina Matsoukas and Writer Lena Waithe: Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at the film. They discuss the locations, sets, story/characters, costumes, photography, music, etc.
- A Deeper Meaning (5:55) Director Melina Matsoukas, writer Lena Waithe and producer Michelle Knudsen, and actors Jodie Turner-Smith and Daniel Kaluuya discuss the films characters and their influences.
- Melina and Lena (4:58) The two discuss their relationship and goals for the film.
- Off the Script (3:17) Waithe reads the script notes as the climax plays with subtitles.
- On the Road with Queen & Slim (4:33) A brief look at the title characters and where their journey takes them.
- Blu-ray of the film
- Digital HD
Queen & Slim (2019)
Movie title: Queen & Slim
Duration: 132 min
Director(s): Melina Matsoukas
Actor(s): Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Turner-Smith , Chloë Sevigny , Indya Moore , Bokeem Woodbine, Sturgill Simpson
Genre: Drama, Romance