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Melina Matsoukas
Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Turner-Smith, Bokeem Woodbine
Writing Credits:
Lena Waithe

A couple's first date takes an unexpected turn when a police officer pulls them over.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English Dolby Atmos
Spanish Dolby 5.1
English DVS
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 132 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 3/3/2020

• Audio Commentary with Director Melina Matsoukas and Writer Lena Waithe
• “A Deeper Meaning” Featurette
• “Melina & Lena” Featurette
• “Off the Script” Featurette
• “On the Run” Featurette
• DVD Copy


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-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer.


Queen & Slim [Blu-Ray] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 19, 2020)

In the same vein as films like Bonnie & Clyde and Thelma & Louise, 2019’s Queen & Slim focuses on an improbable pair of outlaws. Slim (Daniel Kaluuya) and Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) meet via a dating app and go out on their first date.

As they drive home, a police officer (Sturgill Simpson) pulls them over for a minor infraction. Due to his racist motives, this escalates toward violence, and Slim ultimately shoots and kills the cop in self-defense.

Though Slim acted to protect himself and Queen, the pair get labeled as “cop killers” in the media and find themselves unable to seek justice. This sends them on the lam, as they flee and attempt to remain free.

Though I compared Queen to two classic “outlaw couple” films, Thelma becomes a much closer sibling than Bonnie. In the latter, we got actual criminals, whereas both Thelma and Queen come with duos motivated out of fear and self-protection.

Don’t expect future film historians to view Queen in the same light as its two predecessors. Messy and surprisingly dull, the movie lacks much thrust and purpose.

Many of the problems stem from the story’s general lack of coherence. Sure, we can’t expect a perfectly straight and linear narrative from a tale like this, as the characters make up their choices as they go along.

Still, Queen becomes a mess of illogical/stupid choices and odd motivations. While I understand that people under stress don’t always behave in sensible ways, our leads here stretch credulity with their litany of weird decisions.

One minute Queen and Slim seem urgent and driven. Then at the drop of a hat, they pause for pointless side trips that seem to exist solely to delve into character moments.

Queen starts in a promising manner, as the fact the two main characters don’t know each other adds charge. Their clumsy first date offers intrigue, and the notion that two strangers find themselves bound together by tragic circumstances feels interesting.

However, the story goes astray almost immediately, and we soon find ourselves stuck in a clunky romance. Poor Kaluuya and Turner-Smith need to spout painfully bad dialogue like “I’ll be brave enough for both of us” as we view their star-crossed romance.

None of this works, and it adds to the general randomness of the movie. It wants to embrace romance, drama, social issues, and action, but it can’t even vaguely achieve any of its goals.

Back in 2018, Blindspotting went after a similarly broad swath of topics, and it turned into a mess at times. However, the movie enjoyed enough intelligence, wit and heart to work.

I can’t say the same for the meandering Queen. The movie feels like its creators decided to do a story related to social issues and justice and they then cobbled a narrative to fit.

This leads to a “cart driving the horse” impression, as everything we see feels contrived to suit these social goals. I’m all for movies that say something about the world around them, but it doesn’t work when the themes act as the sole motivation for everything else.

Despite the thin character and bad dialogue, Kaluuya proves effective as our lead. The less experienced Turner-Smith fares less well, unfortunately, as she seems wooden and emotionless throughout the film,

Not that I think a better performance from the co-lead would fix all that ails Queen. Essentially a lecture about racism and social problems, the movie fails to turn into a satisfying and compelling narrative.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

Queen & Slim appears in an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The transfer appeared to replicate the source material.

Which is code for “the image had its ups and downs but I can’t criticize the transfer for the choices of the filmmakers”. Sharpness showed some of these inconsistencies, as the movie occasionally showed a diffuse impression that lacked great definition.

However, the majority of the movie appeared pretty concise and accurate. No issues with shimmering or moiré effects appeared, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaws failed to materialize.

In terms of palette, the film opted for a heavy teal palette that favored the green side of that equation. It also veered toward orange and red at times. It appeared that the disc replicated these dominant tones as intended.

Blacks were dark and dense, and shadows showed pretty good clarity. A few shots were a bit murky, but most seemed fine. This wasn’t a consistently attractive image, but it was satisfactory and it seemed to reflect the filmmakers’ intentions.

Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the film’s Dolby Atmos soundtrack proved satisfactory. Given the movie’s character orientation, though, not a lot of fireworks resulted.

Queen came with the occasional “action” scene, mostly on the road or when guns got involved. These offered good punch, and the resy of the mix brought out a nice sense of atmosphere.

Not a lot of created a dynamic soundscape, though. Music fleshed out the surroundings and turned this into an appropriate mix but not one that stood out as impressive.

Audio quality worked fine, with dialogue that appeared natural and concise. Music felt bright and brassy as well.

Effects seemed accurate and lively, with good clarity and punch. This became a perfectly acceptable mix for what the story wanted to do.

As we shift to extras, we begin with an audio commentary from director Melina Matsoukas and writer Lena Waithe. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at sets and locations, story/characters, costumes, photography, music, influences, themes and related domains.

On the negative side, we get a lot of praise here, as Waithe and Matsoukas often tell us how much they like various aspects of the film. However, they manage a fair number of insights as well. These observations become sufficient to turn this into a mostly informative track.

Four featurettes follow, and A Deeper Meaning runs five minutes, 55 seconds. It brings notes from Matsoukas, Waithe, producer Michelle Knudsen, and actors Jodie Turner-Smith and Daniel Kaluuya.

“Meaning” examines characters and influences. Though a little self-congratulatory, the show evokes some insights.

Melina & Lena spans four minutes, 58 seconds and offers notes from Matsoukas and Waithe. They discuss their partnership and goals for the movie. This feels like a fairly fluffy piece.

With Off the Script, we find a three-minute, 17-second reel that features Waithe as she reads part of the script. We see the appropriate movie scene alongside in this mildly interesting contrast of the screenplay and the final product.

Finally, On the Run lasts four minutes, 33 seconds and includes Matsoukas, Waithe, Kaluuya, and Turner-Smith. “Run” looks at locations, weather, and performances. It becomes another brief but decent overview.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of Queen. It boasts the same extras as the Blu-ray.

A mix of character drama, romance and crime drama, Queen & Slim never finds a groove. It offers a confused melange of scenes that feel incoherent and downright silly at times. The Blu-ray brings generally good picture and audio along with a smattering of bonus materials. Queen lacks much clear purpose.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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