On DVD & Blu-Ray: March 3, 2020

Director Todd Haynes has crafted a pure legal thriller that excels in every sense of the genre. While rather straightforward on the surface, Haynes utilizes this sly tactic of maintaining a low key tone and subdued visual aesthetic that, as the film builds, the power of what is unfolding sneaks up on you making the gut punch of the truth to power moments genuinely effective. Ruffalo matches Haynes beat for beat in his performance as environmental attorney Robert Bilott with the power of his performance not coming into full effect until the credits begin to roll and we realize there is no happy ending here; that the difference between justice and compensation has become a line so blurred that a company has been able to buy there way out of and continue producing and making a profit from a chemical now found in every human on the planet. A disease-causing chemical that cannot be extracted from your blood, I might add.

Dark Waters is not only compelling and exquisitely crafted, but terrifying as hell. A true wake-up call to a nation that has subscribed to the fact everything they consume probably causes cancer in one way or another. It's a shame this was overlooked during awards season, but not because it deserved the prestige (though it did), but because it won't be afforded the publicity that would garner more interest from the average movie-goer. It's a shame more people won't see this because I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since I did. A

To whatever extent my opinion on the film matters, Queen & Slim is strikingly shot, affectionately rendered and undeniably powerful in its "make no qualms" about it attitude concerning why it exists and what it is meant to be.

The universe, as it is now, is dying, but our country is still in its infancy and presently trying to atone for the sins of its past. The Lena Waithe penned and Melina Matsoukas directed Queen & Slim makes it a point to show how little has actually changed when it comes to the mentality of the country towards black people, how much further there is to go and how some reparations are simply too deep to let go of with any sense of ease. To its credit, Queen & Slim wastes no time in placing us at the heart of the conflict most black people could easily come in contact with at any point in their lives: getting pulled over by a white cop. In the pivotal opening sequence of the film, Matsoukas paints a perspective more than she does a picture and executes it with both intensity and an unnerving dread as the scenario is all too familiar and all too predictable. Though we've only just been introduced to Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith's titular characters there is this definitive sense of who these individuals are in their core and in the deepest, most personal of senses that lends to our immediate sympathy for this scenario that arrives at their door out of nothing more than simply existing.

I mean, imagine working your entire life to disprove a stereotype only to, in a single instance, become that very stereotype you worked so hard to defy because of an assumption someone else made based on that very stereotype. It's mind-bogglingly backwards in that people shouldn't have to sacrifice their self-respect simply because they do in fact respect themselves and that respect feels disrespectful to someone else. The characters of Queen and Slim are placed upon this journey in which the film covers because of nothing more than being in the wrong place at the wrong time; colliding with what hundreds of years of history would indicate is a situation they were never going to make it out of without some type of scar. What alleviates a lot of the heaviness of the subject matter without sacrificing the tension is the fact the two of them don't get along very well. This alone works in the films favor as we may not even necessarily like one or both of the characters for who they are as people, but everyone can agree that what happens to them is unjust; uniting the viewer with these characters on their quest. Further, this odd couple dynamic Kaluuya and Turner-Smith initially possess makes the arc of their relationship that much more satisfying-Matsoukas overlaying a fair amount of dialogue on top of images as opposed to simply shooting conversations which works to enhance the level of communication and understanding between our leads. Bokeem Woodbine is fantastic here as well and arguably deserves awards attention for his brief, but exceptional presence.

Ultimately, the film ends up being about twenty to thirty minutes too long and unfortunately loses some momentum in the back half, but it indisputably sticks the landing in a genuinely powerful manner. Regardless of small qualms though, this is an important film and is the type of work that needs to enter our vernacular in order to paint a picture of our time; if not to educate and enlighten present audiences, but teach future generations how far we've hopefully come. B+


  1. This is like a nostalgia. I remember those amazing times, when people bought DVDs or CDs with movies. Now, that time has passed.

  2. Which company produces such movies? Can you please let us know? I will be happy to listen to your opinion concerning the issue.