Let me say something before I dig into this film. I can’t wait to see more the next film directed by Melina Matsoukas or one that is written by Lena Waithe. I have no clue if they plan to work together again. If they don’t then that is sad, but at the very least we have this beautiful and magical film. I heard people had an issue with the ending. To be honest about it. I don’t know what the fuss was all about. Probably because I don’t read that many opinions or reviews of films that I have not watched yet. However, I know there was a big fuss about it. I honestly loved the ending and thought it was on par with Quentin Tarintino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. I absolutely loved the ending of the film. I will go into in more later in this rambling.
The film follows the story of two strangers who met for dinner through a dating app. The meal isn’t what anyone would consider a great date by a stretch. However, it turns into the worst night either of them could have possibly imagined. A pullover by the police ends up with them on the run with a dead officer lying in the street.
I have to be honest. I didn’t like the events that took place over the course of the film. It felt like a really fucked up fairytale where everything that needed to happen in order for them to survive occurred. I am going to start with the shooting. When the officer shot Queen and then the scuffle ensued with Slim shooting and killing the officer. If seemed so improbably. I mean that never happens. Which is why I’m going to say something I think is controversial. I don’t think either Queen or Slim actually survived the encounter. I think the from that moment she is shot or around that moment the film plays out like some Jacob Ladders type of shit. Once that encounter takes place everything that happens next is a series of improbable events. The interaction with the chubby kid and his even chubbier father in the parking lot. That begins the delusion of grandeur existence for Queen & Slim to begin to take shape. Now I can be crazy. Which has been said. But that isn’t the normal reaction of coming across someone that a manhunt is taking place for is like.
The relationship between the two continues to be center stage as the uneasiness of them being in the situation they are in an the apparent incompatibility is on display. It is like why are they forced to deal with such a life and death circumstance when they are strangers? I feel like this period is the clue that the realness and fucked up aspect is truly on display.
Okay, now let’s talk about the interaction with Sheriff Edgar. I feel like this scene is a setup for Slim to relive an interaction with law enforcement that doesn’t end up with death. I feel like this is Slim wishing it could end differently where everyone walks away alive. From there it is just them cruising like they have no cares in the world. It takes this bizarre vibe until they run out of gas. Then what happens? Another crazy improbable event with the white dude behind the gas station counter. There is a momentary sense that Slim is in danger. However if soon fades away and they continue their peaceful ride to Queen’s Uncle Earl.
The ride to Uncle Earl is like the calm before the storm. It just feels like a natural point of comedowness for the view. I found the whole segment of the film as an opportunity to catch my breath. Uncle Earl story was tragic in every way possible. I don’t know where it fits in my theory. So I am going to jump to the part that fits that narrative.
At this point in the story, I believe it isn’t hard to see that the film is being narrated by the dreams and desires of Slim. He has at the point molded the hard to crack Queen to a woman that softens. To the point where she is persuaded to go into the small night club in the woods for a dance. It is there that you just feel like she is becoming the woman he could be with. The actions of him drinking and dancing are him recognizing his mortality. And all he wants it to throw care away and enjoy his woman. It is pretty touching. However, the entire scene is just filled with so much of a situation clearly shaped by Slim. Not that it is bad, but it is really interesting seeing the world through his dying eyes.
The couple continue their trip and are apart of a few more unbelievable situations without actually being caught. This aspect of the film has the potential to hurt the film. At least with the first viewing. I am sure additional viewings, in my opinion, will change a bit more on the film in a positive direction. I already feel the film is pretty damn good. Good enough I feel it could have easily been considered an Oscar-worthy film. But let’s be real. This film didn’t have characters that would have fit being an Oscar-worthy film. But it was a damn good film.
I am sticking with my theory that Slim died during the altercation with the police. I think the film was just a film circle and it was meant to ease his mind during a horrible situation that took place after a tinder date. I think the symbolism of Queen getting shot by the police officer before Slim was gunned down so obvious. The results mirror what I think actually happened with the police officer on that dark street.
Obviously I could be wrong. But this is how I see it. You need to check this film out.
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