Queen & Slim (4K Blu-ray Review)

The film debut of director Melina Matsoukas, Queen & Slim, is the kind of film you swear you’ve seen before. You think that way at first. But as you delve deeper into the story and are sucked into the visuals, the music, the style and the wonderful acting, you are given the gift of something new entirely. Queen & Slim has turned out to be quite a surprise.  Read more in depth below, and click the (Paid) link below to preorder your copy. Queen & Slim releases on March 3rd.



Lena Waithe (Master of None, Ready Player One) wrote the screenplay for Queen & Slim and she continues to write wonderful slices of black life.  Here, Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) is on a not-so-wonderful date with Slim (Daniel Kaluuya). Queen is a lawyer and her latest client has been sentenced to death.  She prefers to be alone, but tonight was night the night for loneliness.  She eats dinner with Slim and as Slim is taking Queen home, they are pulled over by a police officer (Sturgill Simpson.) The officer does his routine check, and when he takes the license to the car he reports a possible DUI. The officer begins to get more suspicious, asking to look in the trunk. Queen, being a lawyer, asks for a warrant.  When she steps out of the car to record the incident, the officer shoots her in the leg.  Slim and the officer fight and when the gun is loose from the cop, Slim shoots the officer.  The pair flee the scene, even though the officer was killed in self-defense.

While Queen and Slim are first on the run, they run out of gas.  A nice man picks them up and ends up being a sheriff.  Terrified, they steal the sheriff’s truck and lock him in the trunk of Slim’s car.  As the pair stop for food, they encounter a man and his son.  The man is accidentally struck by the getaway truck, and then is taken to the hospital.  The man reveals that he knows the pair from the dash cam video, and he believes in their cause.

Queen has the idea to go and visit her Uncle Earl (Bokeem Woodbine) who is a veteran and a pimp.  They need a place to stay and to make some changes to their plans.  Slim decides that he and Queen should flee to Cuba, driving to Florida and flying to Cuba from there.  Queen and Slim get haircuts and a wardrobe change and make a escape in a pimped out ride.  As they trip further south, Queen and Slim begin to bond over good music, natural chemistry and sharing life stories.  Queen reveals that Uncle Earl had killed her mother, and Slim begins to feel for her emotionally.  When they make a stop at a down south blues bar, they dance and begin to get even closer.

Along the journey, their car breaks down and they have to use their seed money to fix it.  The two spend time with the mechanic’s son, Junior, who idolizes the two.   They talk about living life, finding their place and knowing they are alive.  It’s an eye-opening moment for everyone.  The pair are quickly falling for one another, and are close to their goal of Cuba.  They use the help of Mr. and Mrs. Shepherd (Flea and Chloe Sevigny) who put them in contact with another man who can arrange their plane out of the US.

It’s very hard to outline a film like Queen & Slim without giving a lot of detail.  There is so much to take in visually and so many plot points to be made.  It’s also very hard to not simply retell the story.  The basic outline of the film is a simple one.  We think we’re going to be seeing the, as Uncle Earl says, “Black Bonnie and Clyde”. Queen and Slim are neither.  They are non-violent innocent people who fell victim to a paranoid, racist police officer.  They had to do something tragic just to get out of that situation.  They just want to live life and be OK in that life. Now knowing that isn’t a possibility, they both look for the blessings and the good things. When they fall in love, they rely on each other for support and are unified in their need for one another.  There isn’t an evil or a thrill in the criminal life for them.

Overall, I was quite taken with Queen & Slim. Daniel Kaluuya continues to show himself to be a fantastic actor. Jodie Turner-Smith in her film debut is glowing, gorgeous and real.  The supporting cast is also fantastic, leading to many memorable moments throughout.  The music is another huge highlight, ranging from Modern Hip-hop to classic soul and jazz.  It’s a stunning soundtrack to be sure.  The writing from Lena Waithe is excellent and director Melina Matsoukas has a fantastic and loving eye for filmmaking.  To not watch this film and take it in as an experience is hard.  Everyone involved put such strong efforts that it’s hard not to appreciate and enjoy a film like this one.  Queen & Slim should also be commended for showing moviegoers another side to black life that isn’t just urban landscapes, life of crime as default or all white people are evil.  It’s nice to not see a film like this go running for clichés.  This one gets a solid recommendation for me, and I will cherish it with more viewings I’m sure.


  • Encoding: HEVC/H.265
  • Resolution: Upscaled 4K (2160p)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
  • HDR: HDR10
  • Dolby Vision: No
  • Clarity/Detail: Filmed on 35MM film, Queen & Slim arrives on 4K Blu-ray with a stunning, filmic presentation. Clarity is first rate and details are never an afterthought.  Whether we are looking at the details on the clothing or interiors, or taking in the visuals of the outdoors as Queen and Slim journey down south there is no end to the visible clarity that goes on throughout the film.  Even at night, you see so much. Gorgeous
  • Depth: Depth is presented lovingly here as well. This is not to say things are 3D Pop quality, but they needn’t be.  Depth is handled wonderfully as you look deeper in those scenes inside of homes or bars and you take in all that’s going on beyond the characters.
  • Black Levels: Quite a bit of the film takes place at night. The black levels are incredible.  No detail is lost to crush, and no blacks look anything less than deep and dark.  Exceptional black levels.
  • Color Reproductions: As the film takes place on the go, the different textures and colors of each location really shine in the HDR color grading. Sunrises, sunsets, water, greenery, sunburnt lawns or dirt all come out in full force.  There are always nice moments of gorgeous colors to be taken in throughout the film.
  • Flesh Tones: Gorgeous flesh tones are seen in this presentation. There are not any moments where anyone looks phony or cartoonish.
  • Noise/Artifacts: As far as my eyes could see, I didn’t see a lot of noisy grain and there were zero artifacts.


  • Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
  • Dynamics: This is a movie where dialogue is front and center. The music, car engines and environmental sounds add depth to the soundtrack.
  • Height: Height channels aren’t used as much as a more action filled film would use them. They are used more for ambient sounds than anything else
  • Low Frequency Extension: Music fills the bill here. All soundtrack cues and score benefit greatly from the rumble of the subwoofer. Gunshots also carry some weight.
  • Surround Sound Presentation: Surrounds are used for ambience much like the height speakers, but obviously they’re used a little more naturally than the height speakers.
  • Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue is loud and clear from the center speaker. No issues whatsoever.


Queen & Slim ships with a matte slipcover, standard Blu-ray and Digital Copy. The special features are included on the 4K Disc which is always nice. The features are all in the 4K UHD format.

  • A Deeper Meaning (5:55): Lena Waithe and Melina Matsoukas discuss the meaning behind the film and who their target audience is.
  • Melina and Lena (4:58): Lena and Melina discuss each other and how their chemistry comes through in the film
  • Off The Script (3:17): Lena reads the script notes while the climax plays with the script displaying via subtitles.
  • On The Run with Queen & Slim (4:33): A discussion of the title characters, and where they travel on their odyssey.
  • Feature Commentary with Lena Waithe and Melina Matsoukas


Queen & Slim is said to be a movie all about black love and coming together.  I got that from the film immediately.  I found myself drawn into the characters immediately.  I was taken with the idea that these people getting beyond the cop killing them and travelling together.  I was also taken with the idea of Queen and Slim as modern heroes fighting against police brutality.  I highly recommend this movie as an eye opening experience and all the love and passion that went into the creation of the film shows it as a love letter to the black experience, to survival and to true love even in tragedy.

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