Movie Review: Judas and the Black Messiah

March 6, 2021

Details from IMDB:

Judas and the Black Messiah (2021)

| | BiographyDramaHistory | 12 February 2021 (USA)
 
7.7/10
18,264
 
Bill O'Neal infiltrates the Black Panther Party per FBI Agent Mitchell and J. Edgar Hoover. As Party Chairman Fred Hampton ascends, falling for a fellow revolutionary en route, a battle wages for O'Neal's soul.

Director:

 Shaka King

Writers:

 Will Berson (story by), Shaka King (story by) | 4 more credits »

 

Initial Thoughts:

As usual, I'll be clear, I have no idea what it means to be hated/mistrusted/look down upon or any of the other terrible things racism does. As such, there is plenty about the movie I will never grasp, said I can judge it as it is, how much I enjoyed it and how I feel it can bring attention to the many issues this film addresses none the least of which is racism, police violence, government corruption and of course what happened with Black Panthers during this crazy period.

Main Points:

Daniel Kaluuya is incredible in this, I will admit to just never learning about the Black Panthers, it all happened before I was born but he puts in an Oscar-worthy performance. Everyone here does a great job and really brings the turbulent 60s to life and shines a light on how difficult it was to be an African American in Chicago back then.

As you might suspect the speeches Fred Hampton gives are the best parts of the movie. The scenes with Bill and the FBI agent Roy are also excellent and often quite chilling. Martin Sheen also has a few small scenes and does a really creepy/scary version of J. Edgar Hoover.

While I enjoyed this movie a great deal and feel it is (sadly) once again very timely in terms of what happened just last year (and I'm sure this year) in the US, I did find it long in parts. I feel sticking really close to the main story would have benefited more, but it's not a significant amount, maybe 15-20 minutes shorter. 

It is the kind of film it is really hard to believe this happened and is not fiction but that's more or less what really happened. I know movies almost always change the truth a little but it gets most details right from what I researched. I also found the music strange, I assume it was supposed to be a little off putting but it's just too loud..of course, I may just be getting old ;) 

Final Thoughts:

I enjoyed this movie a great deal and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in history (and doesn't mind violence/blood/swearing) as is the case with most movies I see, ages 18+. I give it a solid 7.5 out of 10 and I do hope Daniel wins for Best Actor.  Oh of course I didn't see this in theatres (which I miss and hope to do again soon), I am glad that digital movies are much more readily available. I legally got this from Cineplex.