Melina Matsoukas has been a name to watch for some time now, having established a reputation for herself on merit of her music video work, most notably and recently singer Beyoncé Knowles-Carter’s clip for the single ‘Formation’. With a seal of approval from the one and only Queen B, Matsoukas is ready to make her debut as feature filmmaker, and a newly unveiled trailer suggests that her arrival will not be a quiet one.
The film’s called Queen & Slim, and it has a powder keg of a logline: while on a first date, retail worker Slim (Daniel Kaluuya) and criminal defense attorney Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) get pulled over by a white police officer, and Slim kills the cop once their confrontation turns physical. The two lovers then go on the lam, fueled both by their undeniable chemistry as well as the volatile racial component of this particular murder.
Though directed by Matsoukas – who brings a harsh, nocturnal beauty to the footage on display in the trailer – this project has also attracted attention for its screenwriter, Master of None breakout Lena Waithe. While she’s the sole scribe of the script itself, she shares a story-by credit with James Frey, noted author of lie-strewn memoir ‘A Million Little Pieces’.
It all adds up to a hot-button provocation digging into the conversation around blackness and whiteness, the media’s portrayal of both, and how the addition of law enforcement to the equation sets everything on edge.
The trailer’s accompanying copy makes the early comparison to such on-the-run adventures as Bonnie and Clyde or Thelma and Louise. In their own ways, each pair was trying to escape some undesirable element of their society, whether it be the squares or men writ large. It doesn’t take binoculars to see what Queen & Slim would like to put in their rearview.
Queen & Slim is set for release in the UK and US in November.
Published 24 Jun 2019
By Anton Bitel
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