Cert 15 Stars 3
Online popularity and armed robbery race hand in hand in this flashy and shallow crime thriller which sees a pair of small town teenagers go on an impromptu crime spree and catapult themselves to social media stardom.
Writer and director Joshua Caldwell precision-targets his older teenage audience with a fluorescent online video energy by anti-authority posturing, splashing huge text across the screen and drowning every shot in saturated colour and soundtracking it with pop, creating a contradictory examination of chasing acclaim through extreme behaviour.
It’s this year’s second 21st century update of Bonnie and Clyde, but thriller Queen & Slim possessed sharp commentary on racial prejudice, and this lacks the lyrical poetry of 1973’s Badlands, and lacks the phosphorescent star power and period glamour of Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty in the classic 1967 version.
The anti-heroes here are determinedly down market, Jake Manley improves as he relaxes into his role as the junior partner in crime, the barely articulate grease monkey Dean.
While as Arielle, former teenage star of the Disney channel Bella Thorne is a swaggers through an arresting and unrestrained confrontational performance as a cannon who’s not so much loose as scattershot and manic.