'Queen & Slim'
(Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Turner-Smith, Bokeem Woodbine, Chloe Sevigny, Flea, et al / Blu-ray+DVD+Digital / R / 2020 / Universal Pictures Home Entertainment)
Overview: While on a forgettable first date together in Ohio, a black man (Kaluuya) and a black woman (Turner-Smith), are pulled over for a minor traffic infraction.
The situation escalates, with sudden and tragic results, and the man kills the police officer in self-defense. Terrified and in fear for their lives, the man, a retail employee, and the woman, a criminal defense lawyer, are forced to go on the run.
But the incident is captured on video and goes viral, and the couple unwittingly become a symbol of trauma, terror, grief and pain for people across the country.
Blu-ray Verdict: Yes, police brutality (and the subsequent retaliation against the cop) is the main selling point of this film, but it is oh-so much more than that. If you love to explore nuance, then this film lends itself to that craving.
I read a review that accused this film of defiantly negating romantic affection between a Black man and woman, by way of the presence of White oppression. To that criticism, I say … pay closer attention to the love, physical and emotional, that transpired between Queen and Slim.
We're so used to seeing black couples at each other's throats, that some folks can't recognize the beauty in the love-making montage in this film. Not harsh, coarse intercourse. But a truly heart-syncopated rhythmic scene with passion.
And in regards to the collective love, we see Queen and Slim protected by a hive of adoration and dignity. The juke joint scene, where we see a live blues band and patrons old enough to appreciate the southern tradition, extended a solidarity that's missing in today's hip hop culture.
Not to mention the hilarious scenes of warmth when Queen enlists the help of her uncle, played by the rejuvenating Bokeem Woodbine.
The visual poetry is breathtaking, and commands your attention, as the scenery beckons that you recognize it as it's own character. The journey of this duo is more than what is happening around them.
The journey is also about what is happening INSIDE them. The undeniably measured growth of Queen comes to a boiling crescendo at the film's fatal climax.
You can't help but sympathize with her, as she endured so many transitions in just a few days. And boy, does her body take quite the hit. A true testament to the unyielding spirit of black women.
The small detours and many supporters that they encounter are all worth it. There isn't a single scene or anecdote that feels unnecessary, in my opinion. Everything has a purpose in this film.
Even the unfortunate circumstances that follow. The people complaining about how "slow" this movie is, haven't attempted to dive into the ethos of Queen and Slim. Every subtle quirk and joyous moment isn't taken for granted.
A road trip? Sure. A cautionary tale of two unfortunate souls that are seeking refuge? Of course. But take the time to relish in the beauty that this film wants to convey, instead of lambasting the heavily nuanced cop-killing scene. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
• Feature Commentary with Director/Producer Melina Matsoukas and Writer/Producer Lena Waithe
• A Deeper Meaning - Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Turner-Smith and filmmakers discuss the complicated journeys of Queen & Slim and explore the deeper meanings of how far these characters have come from where they began
• Melina & Lena - A behind-the-scenes look at the creative partnership between director/producer
Melina Matsoukas and screenwriter/producer Lena Waithe
• Off The Script - Screenwriter Lena Waithe reads from her original screenplay for Queen & Slim
• On The Run With Queen & Slim - Go behind the scenes with the cast and crew of Queen & Slim as they film in Cleveland and New Orleans
From Emmy Award®-winning writer Lena Waithe (Netflix’s “Master of None”) and Grammy Award®-winning director Melina Matsoukas (Beyonce’s “Formation” and Nike’s “Equality”), comes the unflinching new drama, 'Queen & Slim', arriving on Digital February 18, 2020 and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-rayTM, DVD and On Demand March 3rd, 2020 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.
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