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QUEEN & SLIM: (2019) This is a stunning debut feature film from 38 year-old director Melina Matsoukas. Matsoukas is an American music video, commercial and television director and a two-time Grammy Award winner, but this film should establish her credentials as an accomplished feature film director. Queen & Slim tells a gripping “lovers-on-the-run” story that is reminiscent of Bonnie and Clyde (1967), though some critics point out that the basic plot is not far removed from a Shakespearean tragedy. While on a forgettable first date together in Ohio, a black man and a black woman are pulled over for a minor traffic infraction by a white cop with a chip on his shoulder. The bullying cop discharges his gun, wounding Queen and setting off a chain of events that go by in a blur. The action swerves into an act of self-defense that’s bad for everybody and the cop ends up dead. Not surprisingly, the couple flees the scene, knowing there will be no fairness for them in the criminal-justice system. But the incident is captured on video and it goes viral, turning Queen and Slim, overnight, into cultural icons. It is a gripping, thoughtful, and timely drama. The two leads are excellent and work well together. Daniel Kaluuya (Slim) was nominated for an Oscar for his role in Get Out and Jodie Turner-Smith (Queen) is a British model and actress playing her first major role in this country. Barbara and I liked the film, though I rate it marginally higher. GRADE A-/B+

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