When two strangers are pulled over by an aggressive cop on their first date, they defend themselves by shooting the police. In escalation, they flee the scene; later becoming a symbol across America.
This is what I like to see. A unique narrative, outstanding performances, and symbolic themes all mixed with entertainment. Thanks to Lena Waithe masterful writing, we embark on a journey that couldn't be more prominent today. This is a film we never knew we needed. I am beyond elated that we have a picture of this caliber in cinemas spreading the news of police brutality in a format we've never seen before. Let's just say, originality is back!
Everyone is calling this film the new Bonnie and Clyde. It is not. That film does not undergo thematic material nor social issues, this one does. Queen & Slim is far from the ordinary and it is extremely realistic. The story is simple, yet the characters are complex. Generally, these individuals are not too fond of each other, but once their lives are in danger, they are ready to risk their lives for one another. That notion alone is powerful, but there's more. Once the world sees what they have done based on a body cam video, many begin to protest. These scenes involve people of all ages in the streets coming together to stop police brutality. Making this film a love story, action flick, road trip picture, and a documentary all in one. It is gripping, wildly intense, heavily emotional, and surprisingly hilarious. Director Melina Matsoukas, gracefully found an effective method to tell a story that can come off as corny and lukewarm, but instead, she strategically adds elements that exploits pure empathy. It is difficult not to look at these events and compare them to what's in our backyard today.
While it is a wonderful story, the cinematography is quite mesmerizing. From wide shots of the fields to close ups of flawless Black skin, every moment is simply gorgeous. Special shout out to the lightning technician because most of Hollywood does not know how to properly light African Americans, but here Jodie Smith skin is absolutely perfect. And I couldn't keep my eyes off her.
Speaking of, the performances is much better than I expected. Jodie Smith is a newcomer, and I'm so glad that she was given the chance to lead this film as her feature film debut. She delivers a scintillating performance. At first her attitude was very unlikable, but then I eased into it and ended up loving her more than ever. It's no question that we will be seeing more of her soon. Daniel Kaluuya is the one I was on the fence about because I did not feel that this genre was in his lane. Well, let's just say he shut me up within the first scene. This man is an exquisite Actor and I am now convinced that he can do anything.
With a run-time a little over two hours, it is perfectly paced. I didn't want it to end, but I knew that something had to give. I personally enjoyed the ending, but I will say now that it will be just as controversial as Harriet. We need to realize that the truth is always in the eyes, and before we look out to judge others, we need to take a look at our own front door. No spoilers here, but you will know when you see it.
I fully encourage everyone to see this movie. It is tough to take in, but completely necessary, while still being thoroughly entertaining. The fact that this movie was even able to receive a budget and shoot, says everything we need to know.
Cheers to another top contender of 2019.