Queen & Slim Is a 2019 Bonnie & Clyde

Melina Matsoukas’s feature film debut is a Bonnie and Clyde tale for the modern age.

Melissa Elkin/Big Honcho

What starts out as a fairytale Tinder date ends as a Bonnie and Clyde-style nightmare for the titular characters in Queen & Slim.

Starring Jodie Turner-Smith and Daniel Kaluuya, Queen & Slim details the dramatic aftermath of a couple being pulled over by police for a broken tail light. The second full trailer, which was just released today, reveals that the interaction turns sour, gun shots are fired, and the two must run from the law when the video of the encounter goes viral. They spend the rest of the movie hiding in plain sight, changing their hair, and looking for safety in all the wrong places as they become symbols of the larger national conversation surrounding police brutality in the United States.

Chloë Sevigny, Flea, Bokeem Woodbine, and Indya Moore appear in supporting roles, and music for the film was composed by Dev Hynes.

The story for Queen & Slim apparently started with an idea from James Frey (yes, the same James Frey who sparked national controversy for his semi-fictional bestselling memoir, A Million Little Pieces, and for getting on the wrong side of Oprah Winfrey), but the script was further developed and written by Lena Waithe. It also marks the feature directorial debut for Melina Matsoukas, best known for her work on Beyoncé‘s “Formation” video, as well as some of the singer’s earlier work (“Kitty Kat,” “Upgrade U,” and “Green Light,” to name a few). Matsoukas also directed Rihanna‘s music video for “We Found Love” and is an executive producer of Insecure.

Waithe called the project “protest art” when a first look was previewed earlier this year at CinemaCon. “The film is not made to give the audience answers, but instead to ask questions and show what it looks like to be black and in love while the world is burning all around you,” she said. The opening gala of the American Film Institute Festival will premiere the crime drama on November 14 and it will receive a wider theatrical release on November 27.

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