Movie Mondays – Queen & Slim

From here on out we’ll be trying to deliver a discussion of at least a couple of films every month, we’ll keep everything spoiler free and just give a quick outline of why you should watch each film. Starting off our new quick-fire movie recommendation series, here we have Queen and Slim, directed by Melina Matsoukas.

I watched this movie recently without really knowing much prior to viewing and I have to say it was the best surprise I’ve had from a movie in a long time. To give a very brief summary that will in no way do the film justice; maybe the worst Tinder date ever results in a modern day Bonnie and Clyde story that offers an emotional insight into American race relations. If that isn’t mysterious enough to get you to watch this movie, then I don’t know what is. It is the kind of mysterious quality of the film that initially caused my impulse to watch it, as the film presents itself as a kind of new-classic.

The film stars the great Danai Gurira and Daniel Kaluuya, who co-starred on Marvel blockbuster ‘Black Panther’. Both actors have began to gain critical acclaim and have landed increasingly impressive roles, including Kaluuya’s amazing performance in ‘Get Out’. The pair make for a great Bonnie and Clyde, with strong chemistry that draws you in and makes any emotional scenes hit extra hard.

Striking visuals highlighting the disparity between Americans and a solid soundtrack by Devonté Hynes (a.k.a. Blood Orange) make for a very beautiful watch. I think that anyone could get something out of this film, particularly considering this years’ increased tensions amid the murder of George Floyd by American police and the months of protests that are still going on across the USA and the whole world. Queen and Slim offers an insight into how African Americans are treated, and portrayed, as well as how quickly normal people can be forced to their limits.

This contemporary take on a classic tale will surprise you, weigh on your mind and punch you in the gut. I can’t think of many movies released in the past few years that left me feeling so enraged yet so satisfied. The satisfaction comes directly from the quality of the film, from the dialogue and acting right through to the soundtrack and beautiful imagery. The enragement runs much deeper and has stuck with me since viewing the film last week. Police brutality and the systematic oppression of African Americans is nothing new in the USA, with hundreds of news stories every year reporting another young black man murdered by the police. During this year tensions have risen to the highest they have been since Ferguson unrest in 2014. Given the current political and cultural backdrop, there is no better time to watch this film, as it both offers valuable insight and celebrates brilliant African American artists.

Words by Ewan Blacklaw

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