Scheme Queens Image

Scheme Queens

By Bobby LePire | October 18, 2022

Scheme Queens is a dramatic crime thriller written and directed by Cas Sigers-Beedles. The film opens with a shocking yet amusing armored car heist. The guard is singing a diegetic song on the radio, which cleverly transitions into the soundtrack as non-diegetic. This sequence and the opening credits that immediately follow are flashy and fun, featuring some intense moments and a nice bit of comedy. All in all, it is the perfect introduction to the style and tone to follow. Does the film live up to this early promise?

Sam (Brii Renee’) is a down-on-her-luck gambler with mounting debts in need of a couch to crash on. More accurately, she needs a free place to stay, as she doesn’t have money for rent. Sam goes to see her devoutly religious friend, Audra (Ernestine Johnson), for help. Unfortunately, Audra is in a bad way as well. She sold NFT artwork until five minutes ago when her bosses got arrested on federal fraud charges. Now, she’s left without a job and, even worse, has no insurance to take care of her mom. Their mutual pal Zoe (Jacky Oh) is a bit shallow, as she never takes advice from anyone with bad eyebrows. But she appears to have a cushy life, being engaged to a hip-hop star. Sadly, he cheats all the time, and when Zoe becomes pregnant, she’s on the outs.

“…rob infamous crime boss Trip by switching out his latest shipment of jewels for fakes.”

Now, these three pay a visit to recently disgraced influencer Lauryn (B. Simone), who is looking for a way back into her preferred lifestyle. So, the four friends concoct a scheme that is so crazy it might just work: rob infamous crime boss Trip (Jason Louder) by switching out his latest shipment of jewels for fakes. To do this, they bring in Trip’s righthand man, Mark (Andreas Thomas), who is tired of his boss treating him like trash. But can anyone ever truly be trusted with millions of dollars on the line?

The plot of Scheme Queens is not the most original. In the last few years, there have been several titles with similar stories, including but not limited to Hustlers, Widows, and The Kitchen. Aside from the specific details unique to each title, what Sigers-Beedles does here is craft a tight narrative with loads of style. The four African-American women are introduced with some cool graffiti art that also points out a few details about them. Ron Elliott’s camerawork swoops, flies, and dives in and out of windows and doors, giving the entire production a dynamic and kinetic feeling. Running around 95-minutes, the pacing is perfect, as there is not a dull moment to be found.

Scheme Queen (2022)

Directed and Written: Cas Sigers-Beedles

Starring: Brii Renee', Ernestine Johnson, Jacky Oh, B. Simone, Jason Louder, Andreas Thomas, etc.

Movie score: 7.5/10

Scheme Queen Image

"…Elliott's camerawork swoops, flies, and dives in and out of windows and doors..."

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