MOVIE REVIEW: Queen & Slim a modern Bonnie & Clyde
Those on the lookout for something different, something special and something to treasure always should be assured that all three boxes are emphatically ticked by Queen & Slim.
This spellbinding road movie fuses familiar elements many would associate with the likes of a Bonnie & Clyde or a Thelma & Louise to fresh modern perspectives on love, race and community.
If that sounds like a big load for one movie to carry, you are absolutely right. Nevertheless, Queen & Slim never feels like hard work to connect with or be carried away by.
A fascinating story begins with a lacklustre first date where a couple are struggling to make conversation. By the time they're on their way home, Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) and Slim (Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya) are fighting to stay alive.
An innocent roadside stop has resulted in the accidental death of an over-officious policeman.
We immediately know - just as the title characters instinctively understand - that this is not the kind of incident where an honest explanation will suffice.
Queen and Slim are young and black, and therefore look as guilty as can be to the authorities. Standing still and telling the truth is not an option.
Forced to go on the run, this mismatched pair make tracks for Florida, where their sole chance of cheating a tragic fate awaits.
After hitting such a pointedly dramatic note so early, the movie then relaxes into a softer, subtler approach that allows viewers to get to know the two lead characters a little better.
Bearing in mind Queen and Slim had never cast eyes upon one another before their incredibly awkward dinner appointment, the audience is hearing their respective backstories at the same time the characters are.
This gives the movie an intimacy and an unfailing ability to engage that is rare in this day and age.
Equally unique is the unusual chemistry that builds between Kaluuya (as perfect a fit for his role as always) and Turner-Smith (impressive for a relative newcomer) across the movie's two-hour duration.
A lawyer by trade, the imperious Queen is very much the brains of the team, as they cross each state border a step ahead of the law.
However, it is the laid-back Slim's ability to keep his cool as the heat around them intensifies that gives the pair a chance of somehow living to see another day.
QUEEN & SLIM (MA15+)
Director: Melina Matsoukas (feature debut)
Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Turner-Smith, Bokeem Woodbine, Flea.
A first date becomes a last chance