The first movie I watched featuring Daniel Kaluuya was ‘Get Out’, where he lead me on with his astounding acting skill that I looked forward to more, coupled with his black skin and bulgy sceptic eyes on my screen. And boom! a colleague said…”Mehn! If you love this guy, you’ll love him more after watching Queen & Slim”.
Funnily enough, I had come across the movie advert before but paid no mind. First, what kind of movie bears ‘Queen & Slim’? Possibly one of those hapless romantic films I don’t like. Also the movie poster, it seemed to me like a picturesque of two models posing for a refined ghetto shoot. Poor me, I forgot that sometimes appearance could belie reality.
Queen & Slim explores the struggle for survival of two blacks, Slim (Daniel Kaluuya) and Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) after killing a white police officer in self-defence. Where do they run to in an era nourished with white supremacy and clear cut indignation towards the blacks? Well, they can only try to hide and if eventually they get caught, they’ll take solace in the fact that they did their best…at least that’s what I’ll do if in their shoes.
After the incident, Queen and Slim are forced to flee with the intention of leaving no trace behind. Unfortunately, the news of their killing becomes know to all and sundry but while it fuelled more rage from the police to get them by all means, it stirred hope among the blacks in the country. The black folks resonated with the act as a turning point to halt the discrimination unbeknownst to them it was an accident.
Lessons From Queen & Slim
Spoilers are not my style of reviewing a movie, I’ll only tell you the many ways it appeals to me or not.
A perfect blend of fire and ice:
I loved the blend of the two main characters. Daniel Kaluuya playing the vulnerable and meek one, and Jodie Turner playing the strong and assertive one. I found balance in their roles especially as I related it to life itself. Our personality is what makes us strong even if they appeal to the people around us as a weakness. Our Personality will be shitty if we deprive them of exposure/aid from other personalities.
In Split Seconds:
“The future is uncertain and the end is always near”, if the romantic crime drama does not teach you this then I wonder what will. A persons life can change in split seconds and at such moment you get entangled in some self-pity thoughts on where you went wrong. At such moments, fear rules and hope becomes feeble. You’ll hope for the burden to pass but at every stage, it feels like you get more sunk in the quagmire. Times like this, we make decisions not based on how we feel but what we must do. My heart raced so much for Queen and Slim who got entangled in confusion, trauma and pain as they fled for their dare lives. It was a mind-altering and revealing journey, although scared, they fall in love, ticked their bucket list and kept the energy.
Don’t Be Fooled By Similarities:
Contrary to Mahatma Gandhi’s quote which says that “the future depends on what you do today”, Queen and Slim’s future depended on who they met. I always thought I was bad for not trusting people from my tribe but not sorry because I won’t be changing my mind about that any more. Do not get comfortable with people because they are of the same skin colour, speak a language you understand or know someone you know. When they mess you up, you’ll regret the day they showed up in your life. The best thing is to have an open mind towards everyone regardless of similarities.
Sometimes There Is No Light At The End Of The Tunnel:
You can’t sleep while watching this movie because at every scene you’ll find your heart racing alongside Queen & Slim’s heart. Relating their quest for survival to reality, it is like a man being diagnosed with cancer, after his family pulls through a whirlwind of jeopardy to raise the money for treatment, he receives treatment and shortly after he dies. What will you do in this situation?
I must confess the Melina Matsoukas’ direct is one movie that’s elevated the bar in messing with my emotions. At the end of the movie, tears wouldn’t stop rolling down my eyes, I didn’t know if to be mad at the crew, especially the writer Lena Waithe or give a round of applause because it was all shades of excellence.
How else would the movie have ended if not this way? Movies don’t have to be happy ever afters, what matters most is the conveyance of the message and Queen & Slim did absolute justice.
And yeah, did I love Daniel Kaluuya more? Absolutely! As a matter of fact, I’ve found an additional love in Jodie Turner. She was absolutely amazing in every scene, so hard to believe it was her first starring feature-film role. I will definitely be looking out for this duo on my screen.