Movie Review – Queen & Slim

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Movie Review – Queen & Slim

Category : Movie Review

Director: Melina Matsoukes

Starring: Jodie Turner-Smith, Daniel Kaluuya

Year: 2019

Directors are having problems with editing, and that’s a problem for us all.  I don’t care how long a movie is if the content supports the length, I’ll watch something for three hours if there’s a reason to, sign me up.  But that’s often only warranted when the plot stretches, like in a war movie, an action epic, a drama that spans decades, something of that nature.  Simple arcs don’t require 150 minutes to develop; if you can’t get your point across in 90 then you probably need to check yourself before …wait for it …you wreck yourself.  Queen & Slim, like so many films right now, is way too long, far too convoluted, and needed a strong hand to chop, chop, chop.

Out on a first date because she was simply lonely, Queen & Slim chat it up at a local Cleveland diner.  She’s a rigid lawyer, he’s a friendly family guy, they are opposites in some ways, but there are also a few sparks, who knows how it’ll turn out.  But that chance is never given; while driving her home, he gets pulled over for a swerve, and the lone, nervous, white officer represents their doom.  Shots are fired, the cop winds up dead, Queen & Slim flee the scene, afraid for their very lives.  The journey that follows teaches them so much about themselves, and also ignites a country that has been waiting for a flag to wave in the face of racism, brutality, and injustice.

When you make a good movie too long, filling it with every extravagant scene you can think up, your project starts to feel self-congratulatory, and that’s no fun for anyone else.  It’s simple conceit to create something that encapsulates everything you’ve ever dreamed of saying/doing, but that leaves audiences completely out of the picture, forgetting that art is designed as an interaction between people, it’s not just a display of talent, however amazing that talent might be.  Queen & Slim is a solid movie, it starts incredibly, carries a heavy burden, demands that an important message be heard, and is well-acted by the leads.  But the length, the plodding pace, the unnecessary event points, none of that adds to the narrative, it only shows the amateur status of the creator (who, in this case, is a music video director).  What we needed was a film an hour shorter, with a explosion of meaning that we couldn’t escape, that would have captured us completely, and made this movie something more than just an afterthought.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆