Film review: Queen & Slim revolutionizes the road film while taking aim at police racism

One of the most difficult, controversial films of the year, it is also one of the best

It takes but two minutes of runtime for Queen & Slim to convince you you’re going to have a heart-wrenching, transformative film experience.

Co-writer Lena Waithe has been breaking down barriers and highlighting racial tensions for years in series The Chi, but she holds a mirror to our society in a way no other writer had this decade with this film.

A Bonnie & Clyde road trip story flipped on its head, this tale of a terrible first date that ends with the twosome on the run from the law is captivating in every sense of the word.

When a traffic stop by a racist officer ends with his own death, religious Slim and attorney Queen are forced to flee, knowing arrest or death is soon to follow if they’re caught by police in a system who shoot first and ask questions later.

Fraught with racial tension and outrage over real-life shootings of unarmed, innocent black men by police officers U.S.-wide, this film feels far more real than it should.

With the crackerjack script, a formidable performance from Oscar nominee Daniel Kaluuya, and a turn from newcomer Jodie Turner-Smith that’s jaw-dropping, this is one of the best of the year.

The only thing that surpasses the leads is a key supporting performance from Bokeem Woodbine as Uncle Earl, Iraq war veteran turned half-baked pimp and relative of Queen’s.

This is one of the most difficult, controversial films of the year, and is required viewing, as far as this critic is concerned.

Jordan Parker is a PR professional and journalist in Halifax, and these reviews appear first on his film blog Parker & the Picture Shows.