Queen & Slim

Front Row at the Movies by Shirrel Rhoades

5/5 (1)

We love outlaw romances. Bonnie and Clyde. Butch Cassidy and Etta Place. Even Robin Hood and Maid Marion.

That’s the essence of “Queen & Slim” – the new film playing at Tropic Cinema.

Jodie Turner-Smith and Daniel Kaluuya take on the title roles, that of a couple who meet via a dating app. Turns out Queen and Slim (we only learn their given names near the end of the film) aren’t having a particularly memorable first date … until they get stopped by an aggressive cop. That’s when things take the sharp turn for the worse that fuels the high-octane storyline.

No need to offer any spoiler alerts, but our couple find themselves on the lam, racing from Ohio to New Orleans to Florida, heading for Cuba, turning into folk heroes (“the black Bonnie and Clyde”) in the process.

“I’m not a criminal,” Slim asserts, but circumstance might say otherwise. After all, by this point in the movie there’s a dead man, several stolen vehicles, a gas station stickup, and other illicit events.

Director Melina Matsoukas delivers a dreamy, languorous chase film, despite the palpable danger faced by our couple. Their escape is complicated by betrayal, greed, and racism. Friends and enemies are hard to tell apart.

Aside from all the bruhaha, “Queen & Slim” is at its heart an on-the-run romance. We watch as two people who might never have had a second date become irrevocably bonded by a common survival instinct.

You’ve seen Daniel Kaluuya in “Get Out.” And Jodie Turner-Smith in “Nightflyers.” The two British actors pass as Americans with the ease of pulling a trigger or floorboarding a vintage Pontiac getaway car.

Think of “Queen & Slim” as a modern “Sugarland Express” or “Aloha, Bobby and Rose.”

The message: Legends are made by accidental circumstance. So is romance.

Email Shirrel: srhoades@aol.com

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