Review: Queen & Slim Directed by Melina Matsoukas

Queen & Slim Directed by Melina Matsoukas; Release date: November 2019

Film Shorts


...starts with an improbable event: a traffic stop where a black man kills a cop. OK, so the film has the audience's attention. One now has to wonder the reason for this particular framework. The lead female character is a lawyer, and the lead male is an average religious guy. OK so, are we going to address Church & State?

Yes, kind of, sort of but the real play is liberation theology. The dialogue is pointed. The reverse trip through the Underground Railroad works - going from free state Ohio, through Kentucky, and ending up in Louisiana. All around, things are falling in place for the characters, the cinematic vision and the themes. Even when Queen & Slim does a shift and mocks the idea that liberation can be found by adapting the look and ethos of Blaxploitation films, it still works.

Though the protests in the backdrop doesn't work as well, it is understandable since we're taking a journey from the present, through the 70s, and are now doing the protests of the 60s and late 50s -- with destination Cuba.

At this point, the movie is wonderful. Now all it has to do is stick the landing, and it tries when liberation also becomes about personal freedom. It tries when the liberation theology of the dialogue asks the question: why are children born? Then, it still-lifed (still birth).

Recommendation: MEDIUM

Reviewed by Guichard Cadet