Queen & Slim

This film reminded me of an African-American version of Bonnie and Clyde, though here our heroes are innocent.

Queen & SlimQueen And Slim flows in the footsteps of BlacKkKlansman, a Spike Lee movie, The Hate U Give and Black and Blue as films with the courage to examine racial prejudice permeating many police agencies across our country. Here, Queen and Slim are out on a first date. A bigoted police officer stops their car and ends up shot and killed by Slim in self-defense after Queen is shot.

This happens in Cleveland, Ohio and the rest of the film spans 6 days as our couple flees to Southern States as they try to figure out what to do. Hunted by police agencies in a massive search, they become heroes in various black communities when a video goes viral showing the police officer shooting Queen in the leg before Slim is forced to respond.

The movie is as intense as it is provocative. Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith, playing Queen, have just been out on their first date where Queen, an attorney, is clearly uneasy after a hearing where her client was facing a death penalty. As you watch their relationship grow in the midst of intense turmoil, Ms. Tuner-Smith is unforgettable as a black woman trying to wrestle with her own identity.

Coming off his great performances in Get Out (2017) and the 2018 films, Black Panther and Widows, Mr. Kaluuya is at the top of his game as a lonely man in a strange world who is falling in love with his traveling companion. Heading from one location to another as they decide to get to Florida and find the way to sail to Cuba, Queen and Slim surprisingly find meaning in what appears to be meaningless world.

Like the three movies that I referred to above, this is not a film that is likely to be seen at any FOP conventions. Nonetheless, racism continues to emerge from the darkness at various moments in our legal system. And it is usually black American citizens, not white ones, who end up being gunned down under questionable circumstances by the police across our county despite out National motto, “Land of the free and home of the brave.”

Despite the fact that I have many police officers who are friends following over 40 years of service as a Criminal Defense lawyer, I have repeatedly told them that it is their responsibility to try and eliminate all elements of racism in our profession. As seen in The Hate U Give, it is well recognized that the police are put in a difficult position when they pull a car over on a dark night in what is labeled as a crime infested area.

Yet this disgusting problem won’t be solved without their leadership.