Complete A-Z list

Queen & Slim


Stars: Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Turner-Smith, Bokeem Woodbine, Benito Martinez, Chloe Sevigny, Flea, Indya Moore, Sturgill Simpson

Director: Melina Matsoukas

After three Brits and an Aussie as the all-American March sisters in Little Women, US actors get short-changed again in this story of a reluctant Bonnie & Clyde, with Brits Kaluuya and Turner-Smith cast as the leads in what are quintessentially American roles.

Now, it's not that the stars aren't any good - they are, very. In fact they're the glue that holds this rambling, (once again, overlong) narrative together. All the same...

Director Matsoukas cut her teeth on dozens of music videos, and Queen & Slim could certainly do with something of their pace in places. Things start well, however, albeit a strain on our credibility. Queen, a lawyer, and Slim, a shoe salesman, go on a fairly unsuccessful first date together, but when Slim makes a swerve on the road, they are pulled over by a policeman.

Even by today's screen standards of bigoted white cops, this guy (Simpson) takes some believing, as he demands to see driving licence and contents of glove compartment, then hauls Slim out of the car and searches him, then going through his boot (full of shoe samples) before Queen, saying she's getting her mobile out, is shot in the leg and the cop himself somehow ends up dead.

After a tedious interlude at the home of Queen's Uncle Earl (Woodbine), the unfortunate couple become nationwide celebrities as they head towards Florida, aiming to get on a flight to Cuba.

Kaluuya shows his success in Get Out was no flash in the pan, while Turner-Smith is even stronger as his reluctant partner. Next time, though, what about giving homeboys a chance...

David Quinlan

USA 2019. UK Distributor: entertainmentOne. Technicolor.
132 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 1, Swearing 3.

Review date: 02 Feb 2020