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BBC – Culture – Queen and Slim review: Five stars for this exciting movie

As Quinn and Slim begin, the hero and heroine of Tinder's date are sure to be their only encounter. She is an upright lawyer with elegant long braids and he is a religious, unassuming working-class man with a charming smile. By the end, they had killed a white police officer in self-defense, had fled and been transformed. She has cut hair and wears a mini tiger dress borrowed from a prostitute. He became bolder than he could have imagined. And this ambitious, exciting film has moved from realism to myth, and back again.

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Starring the spectacularly beloved Daniel Callujia and the little-known but charismatic Jody Turner-Smith, Quinn and Slim is an uncertain, well-executed toll on a tumultuous romance. But it is only the scaffolding on which writer Lena White and director Melina Matsukas build their vision of identity, race and injustice, drawing on today's "Black Life" movement, the historic underground railroad that leads to freedom, and Bonnie and Clyde. .

A rarely seen writer / director team from Wyatt (Master of Nobody and Chi) and Matsukas (TV series Uncertain and music videos, including Beyoncé) rarely appears.isFormation). The complex feel of Wyatt's characters and how they interact with racist society is given a visual expression of Matsukas's textured images.

Dinner, where the first date is held, is filmed to look realistic, but dramatically, the lights from its wide windows cast a glow against the dark parking lot, a dynamic look echoed throughout much of the film. One prominent moment in Matsukas's videos is Beyoncéis, in formation, sits on top of a police car sinking in the floods of Orleans. Her images here are just as full and every scene is packed with meaning, from clothing to the background to cars.

As Quinn and Slim head home for dinner in his car with a TrustGod reading license, he sweetly says he hoped to meet them. "No, I'm good," she snapped. When the car is run over by the police, everyone reacts to the character. He complies, doesn't want any more trouble, as long as she asks for the officer's badge number. When the officer grows militant and accidentally killed him, Wyatt and Matsukas reverse the famous scheme of black drivers shot by white police officers. The Queen and Slim suddenly know that there will be no justice under these circumstances.

Traveling from Ohio across the American South, hoping to escape to Cuba, the film portrays differences in class, identity change and what it means to be black in the United States. When they arrive in New Orleans, they are in a polluted neighborhood far from their past. They are hiding with her uncle, Earl, (Bokeman Woodbin), the cat. By then they had become viral sensations, caught in the dead officer's body, and Earl greeted them by saying, "Well, if it's not Bonnie and Clyde."

These two men are lobbying for a murder they would never choose to commit

In interviews, Wyatt and Matsukis have opposed seeing their film in those terms, and it is easy to see why. Queen and Slim are not deliberate criminals. However, the comparison is also relevant, because like Bonnie and Clyde, they are illegally on the run, and their crime soon escalates into the realm of folk heroes, a trajectory that has accelerated social media today. In fact, they are not called queen and slim screen. We do not hear their real names until late in the story, another hint of their growth as mythical types.

Weith's script goes from the real to the stylized as one person after another, most, but not all, of them helping the road couple in an exhibition of solidarity, idealistic and complex. They marvel at a community tired of injustice and abuse, yet these two men lobby for a murder they would never choose to commit.

Their relationship and the changes in their personalities are, in a less intentional way, also more fantastic than likely. On the first date, the Queen rolls her eyes as Slim bows his head to pray before eating. But she decided to say grace to her uncle, an incredibly sudden change, even in her dramatic situation. And while we like to believe that they really do come to see and understand, their romance seems to love the filmmakers rather than the characters themselves naturally.

Following his successful role in "Outputs", Callujah continues to grow even stronger as an actor. It allows us to see how Slim's art and filth defy the law gradually rising to the surface, even as he retains his charm and common sense. His performance transcends the script's rigor, a Turner-Smith feat unable to match.

And Matsukas makes a big mistake when he cuts between a queen sex scene and Slim in a car parked beside a path of bright light and demonstrations in support of the city they left behind. People gathered in the street holding signs and shouting, "Release them!" Just for the police to force the crowd into the crowd. The protest is visceral and cruel, but intersecting to confront the two scenes, reveals how the legend of the queen and Slim have spent their lives, the land as an unnecessary blow to the head.

But it's a couple. Queen & Slim enters a stream of social outrage and presents it with the vividness, compassion and vision of two true artists, merged into one.


Directed by Melina Matsukas

Cast: Daniel Callujia, Turner-Smith ododi, Bokem Woodbin, Chloe Sevigny

Running time: 132 min

Posted Date: US and Canada November 27, 2019 and UK January 31, 2020

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