Queen & Slim Movie Ending Explained (In Detail)

Spoilers Alert:

A man and a woman on the run from the police – with her modification of the well-known “Bonnie & Clyde” motif, director Melina Matsoukas denounces racial cultural injustices in the USA. But QUEEN & SLIM That doesn’t automatically make it a good film. We reveal why in our review.

Slim becomes a “cop killer” in self-defense.

The plot summary

On the way back from their first date, a young black couple is stopped by a police officer for something trivial. When the situation gets out of hand, Slim (Daniel Kaluuya) shoots the police officer in self-defense to save the young lawyer Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith), who doesn’t just want to accept this police attack. The dashcam recording of the incident makes the two clear “cop murderers” for the state, but at the same time also heroic symbolic figures, while the video goes viral. All the pain over innocently killed black people, the trauma of ongoing police arbitrariness and the ongoing anger over a still racist system erupts in a wave of support and protests for the two refugees. So begins a desperate and dangerous odyssey in which the two grow closer and closer and develop a deep understanding and unconditional love for each other.

Queen & Slim Movie Meaning & ending

Like many of her colleagues, director Melina Matsoukas started out as a commercial and music video filmmaker. The advantage of this is that filmmakers with this background often have a very special sense of aesthetics, although, as in the case of Michael Bay, this does not always automatically go hand in hand with narrative finesse. Matsoukas, who is responsible for music clips by Beyoncé and Rihanna, among others, is now also putting the staging in the foreground in her feature film debut “Queen & Slim” by stringing one hopefully iconic scene after the next. It would have been the task of screenwriter Lena Waithe (“Bones”) to underpin her colleague’s style-over-substance attitude with a similarly ambitious script, but more than a variation of “Thelma & Louise” or “Bonnie & Clyde” – just with two black protagonists at the center – “Queen & Slim” didn’t turn out; rather the opposite. The road movie drama, which denounces general socio-cultural grievances in the USA, has a very clear agenda. So far-reaching and, given the director’s transparent anger, so understandable. But in the approach of letting hate and racism speak for themselves, Matsoukas forgets about things like character drawing and dramaturgy.

Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) and Slim (Daniel Kaluuya) on the run from the cops.

“Queen & Slim” begins with a brief insight into the two main characters’ Tinder date, which goes more badly than well, and then quickly gets down to business: During a police stop, the young people who actually go by the names Angela and Ernest are at the mercy of a racist cop suspended, whereupon the situation escalated. A shot is fired, the officer is dead. And Queen and Slim begin their escape through the United States. A moral dilemma does not arise from the situation; Matsoukas clearly staged the fatal incident as an act of self-defense, which could only not be perceived as such on the cameras inside the police car, as they could not completely depict the crime scene. In this respect, it should be easy to sympathize with the two victims of the circumstances who were falsely sought as “police murderers”. After all, “Queen & Slim” appeals above all to equal treatment and justice. But Matsoukas doesn’t do himself any favors with the two protagonists. It is certainly brave, unlike in “Thelma & Louise”, “Bonnie & Clyde” and in parts even “Natural Born Killers”, not to place sole sympathetic figures at the center of the narrative. But the real lack of interest in their predicament also nips any interest in the outcome of the story in the bud. After an initial brief panic (at least for Slim), events then proceed like a normal road trip. No trace of an escape atmosphere.

Now this unexpected feeling of freedom of the two refugees somehow fits with the music video atmosphere that cameraman Tat Radcliffe (“White Boy Rick”) conjures up here with his stylish images. The couple drives casually into a sunset, Queen leans out of the open window of her car in the best indie film style or the two dance in a jazz club where apparently every guest has heard of their symbolic act and therefore she hasn’t delivered. But the makers don’t give a damn about any credibility for such side notes. Regardless of whether Queen and Slim stop on the side of the road to pet a few horses, have extensive sex or have themselves photographed for a photo – which also serves as the motif for the film poster: there isn’t much missing from them despite their lack of attentiveness To some extent blame the outcome of the events – after all, after the crime, they are among the most wanted people in the USA and if coincidence, which would no longer be credible at some point, did not come to their aid, they would have been caught after just a few hours . Now Melina Matsoukas is less concerned with tracing a real criminal case with all its plausible consequences than with creating a mood. And you can find it brave that the director is actually making a drama in the style of a reggae video that is actually predestined for a style à la “Beale Street” or “Next Stop: Fruitvale Station” ; Queen and Slim don’t let their actions, which are already respected by many, get them down and feel truly free for the first time in their lives. But where can a dramatic fall come from when not even Queen and Slim themselves give the impression that anything about this situation is threatening?

The media value of the killing remains mostly just an assertion. Once Queen and Slim go to a club and the bartender alerts them to their presence in the media. Another time, her act apparently sparked an entire movement, which is why one day people suddenly gather to demonstrate against police violence. Otherwise, brief mentions from Queen’s circle of relatives only indicate that the two of them were reported on television; But in times when such things go viral much more quickly than in the smartphone-free “Natural Born Killers,” for example, the influence of the main characters on the black community intended by the creators is negligible. In a way, that’s plausible: Queen and Slim don’t add fuel to their avenger status and sometimes don’t want to have anything to do with it at all. Especially newcomer Jodie Turner-Smith (“The Neon Demon”) In her role as the Queen, she even seems disgusted by her influence on those who adore her and her entourage. And Slim, at least at first, has far too much respect for false recognition that he doesn’t pay more attention to the media. At least here there is something like chemistry between Daniel Kaluuya (“Get Out”) and his film partner, who otherwise function neither as lovers nor as partners in crime. But apart from the stylish production, “Queen & Slim” is pretty much a failure anyway.

Conclusion: It is an interesting approach that Melina Matsoukas takes with her ambitiously staged drama “Queen & Slim”. But instead of watching two wrongly accused murderers escape, the audience witnesses a stylish road movie whose two protagonists have no chemistry whatsoever.

“Queen & Slim” can be seen in selected USA cinemas from January 9th.

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