Keep it Reel: 'Queen and Slim'
By Marc Woodfork
Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith star in this film centered around a traffic stop that goes horribly wrong while out on a first date. On the way home after the date, the two are pulled over for a minor infraction and circumstances escalate to point that the officer ends up dead. Although the shooting was in self-defense, they both decide to run. The incident goes viral and the two characters are considered criminals by some and heroes by others.
At this point, the film becomes a blend of "Thelma and Louise" and "Catch Me if you Can." Queen and Slim decide that their only chance of freedom is to try and get to Cuba. An interstate chase and manhunt ensues as they try and get to Florida where a plan awaits to take them the rest of the way. Intermixed within the getaway is a very well-crafted love story that works because the filmmakers don't force the relationship. The romance evolves organically. The film as a whole is smart, engaging and entertaining. At a runtime of just over two hours, it doesn't feel like it. Daniel and Jodie are fantastic in their roles, without being overbearing.
There are larger themes portrayed in the film, but those themes blend well with the movie overall. It would be very easy for the filmmakers to sell out and give audiences "something to yell about," but to their credit they didn't go that direction. The anger, the sadness and despair is evident without the shouts. This film is Jodie Turner-Smith's first starring role. You wouldn't know that based on her performance. She delivered like a twenty-year screen veteran. Hopefully, this film is a springboard to many more starring roles for her. Certainly a must-see film.
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