Judas and the Black Messiah delves into the tragic story of the deputy chairman of the National Black Panther Party, Fred Hampton. A fitting title for this drama, as the protagonist of this movie is a character named Bill O'Neal who was an FBI informant that infiltrated the Black Panther Party. This film has everything you could want in a recreation of the historical events of the 1960s and not only is it a hugely important story but it will deeply effect you in many ways.
Written by Joe Brown
The Black Panther Party were a political movement with chapters in the urban US, who took a different approach to the non-violent philosophy of Martin Luther King. Fred Hampton built and to quote from the film, "A Rainbow Coalition" of oppressed groups in US society, who's goal was to gain their Civil Rights and equality. Under the influence and pressure of FBI, Bill O'Neal is forced to give information on the Black Panther group, with a close focus on Fred Hampton.
Firstly, the performances in Judas and the Black Messiah are some of the best in 2021 and the cast is spectacular. There is LaKeith Stainfiled, Ashton Sanders, Jesse Plemmons, Dominuque Fishback and Martin Sheen. However, Daniel Kaluuya as Fred Hampton gives his most accomplished and powerful performance to date. The sign of a great actor is when they can become their character and that is exactly what Kaluuya does. You forget he is acting and he dominates and commands every moment of screen time. When he is delivering his lines there is an aura around him and he creates moments of real emotion. He will likely be nominated for the Best Actor in a Supporting Role Oscar and has a very good chance to win.
The pacing of this movie is also sublime. It is certainly a slow build and this may frustrate viewers, however, it is important to stick with the movie as the slow pace is paramount for what happens in the film. It allows us to really understand and emotionally connect with our characters, evoking different emotions for each person.
The screenplay deeply resonates with its audience members, as there are many scenes where Fred Hampton is conversing and giving monologues which are poignant and moving. For its subject matter the movie needed to have engaging conversations and moments which pull the audience in and this happens consistently. By the end, you will be emotionally connected to the story and due to the slow build when the movie's tone shifts, it is wonderfully effective and deeply eloquent.
This is an exquisite rendition of the life of Fred Hampton and a story everyone should want to learn and understand. From top to bottom this movie was fantastic and under the direction of Shaka King, a real masterpiece unfolds.