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Queen & Slim

Rated 14 Accompaniment (Coarse Language, Nudity) ~ Runs 132 minutes

Dir.: Melina Matsoukas, Canada/US, 2019

Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Turner-Smith, Bokeem Woodbine, Chloë Sevigny

“A Tinder date becomes an epic road trip through America's race and class divide in Queen & Slim, a stunner of a debut feature from director Melina Matsoukas and a worthy successor to lovers-on-the-run tales such as Bonnie and Clyde and True Romance. Matsoukas crafts a knockout romance with an overarching theme of police brutality that reverberates throughout today's America. Her target isn't your head, it's your heart, and she hits a bull's-eye. Daniel Kaluuya is Slim, a mild-mannered Cleveland man — he has a TRUSTGOD license plate — on a first date with Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith, a revelation) at a diner. Things are going no better than okay. But they get much worse on their way home when they're pulled over by a hostile police officer. After a tense interaction, the officer pulls his gun and shoots Queen in the leg. Slim wrestles with the cop and, in self-defense, shoots and kills the officer. That sends Queen and Slim fleeing and trying to figure out their next move while a manhunt commences around them. The script by Lena Waithe sends our duo down through the South and on to New Orleans, where they meet up with Queen's uncle Earl. While on the run, dash cam footage of the cop killing goes viral, turning Queen and Slim, overnight, into cultural icons. Queen & Slim plays with that very iconography, showing how it helps and hurts the black community. Meanwhile, Matsoukas effectively conveys the freedom of the road and juxtaposes it against the tightening grip of the law, turning Queen and Slim's story into a race against time. Queen & Slim plays out like a fable, but its rooting in the real world gives it a powerful emotional resonance. It makes bold narrative choices but backs them up with confidence, so there's never any questioning Matsoukas' vision. She's delivered a potent love story for our times.” - Adam Graham, The Detroit News



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January 12