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JUDAS and THE BLACK MESSIAH – Rated R – 2 hrs. 6 mins.
DIRECTOR: Shaka King
WRITERS: Will Berson, Shaka King, Kenneth Lucas, Keith Lucas
STARRING: Daniel Kaluuya, LaKeith Stanfield, Jesse Plemons, Dominique Fishback, and Martin Sheen
Nominated for two Golden Globes this year, and sure to be tagged for more accolades before this awards season is through, Judas and the Black Messiah tells the real-life story of the assassination of Chairman Fred Hampton (Danial Kaluuya), leader of Chicago’s Black Panther Party, circa late 1960’s, at the hands of the FBI, Chicago police department, and FBI Informant and plant within the Black Panther Party, Bill O’Neal (LaKeith Stanfield). This powerful film brings to light not only Hampton’s profound skills in engaging his fellow man to fight for a revolution towards social justice, and inclusion, but this film also shows his unending passion in forming the multicultural Rainbow Coalition, bringing together the Black Panthers, the Young Patriots and the Young Lords, whose social programs sought to bring resources, and social justice to the inner city of Chicago.
Not only enlightening to a socialistic idealist within our country’s history, but also to the painful truths about our government, and Chicago’s law enforcement of our past as well, Judas and the Black Messiah also has a powerhouse of performances within its frames too, with Daniel Kaluuya leading the way, with a very expressive and explosive performance throughout every inch of this film. Supporting Kaluuya the whole way through too, giving an award worthy performance himself, LaKeith Stanfield leaves his mark on the screen, playing car thief, turned FBI informant Bill O’Neal, who sadly commits suicide two decades later, feeling conflicted about the role he played in Fred Hampton’s untimely death. Jesse Plemons and Dominque Fishback also give note-worthy performances, with Plemons playing the FBI Agent who cuts the deal with O’Neal that plants him inside the Black Panther Party, and Fishback as the devoted girlfriend of Hampton’s, engrossed in his vision for inclusion, equality, and the revolution that he must continue. Intense, and extremely powerful the whole way through, Judas and the Black Messiah is one of the most impressive films of the year, as it takes us to a time in our countries history that we should have evolved from long ago, but that sadly harkens to situations that still transpire regarding civil rights, and police brutality, within our midst still today…
4 out of 5 STARS