The Warner Bros. Heavyweight Oscar contender Judas and the black messiah The wait has been worth it, even if it is not a second coming of Christ. While the film isn’t as powerful as it could have been, it still thrives on the absolutely captivating appearances of Daniel Kaluuya, LaKeith Stanfield, and the rest of the cast.
Judas follows passionate and charismatic Fred Hampton, chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party, and William O’Neal, the faction’s chief security officer, who also served as an FBI informant and whose betrayal ultimately led to the death of Hampton.
Kaluuya delivers one of the best performances of the 2020 extended Oscar year, a transformative twist as Hampton. It’s the kind of acting that just leaves your jaw on the floor, its sincere devotion to the role, its absolute immersion in it breathtaking.
Though his Get out Co-Star’s performance is not as outwardly fascinating, Stanfield offers an emotional, complex, and ultimately tortured performance that depicts a man whose loyalties are consistently divided.
Beyond acting Judas and the black messiah tells a compelling story, even if it isn’t consistently effective. Director Shaka King, whose only other full-length work is the 2013 limited release Newlyweeds, bites off a little more than he can chew, although the film still works on a grand scale that is consistently engaging, if not always exciting. Judas Try to explore Hampton as an individual, portray the Black Panthers in ways that they have often not been portrayed (as a group of sincere people fighting for justice, if not without flaws), and the FBI investigation, or rather their attempts to follow Defeat Hampton and the Black Panthers simply because of the perceived threat they pose to White America.
While perhaps a poor comparison, the film suggests similarities with the fiction The departed (and again its source material Hell matters), as the film tries to weave two competing forces together, not insidiously, but with clear and opposing motifs. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what kind of film Shaka wanted to make. The investigation seems to be the focus at times, but he never fully admits it, sometimes being distracted and impressed by Kaluuya’s devotion to his character.
Judas the black messiah Even so, it juggles well with its various elements. it just doesn’t bring them together in the perfect package. However, it gets very close at times, and the audience would be deprived of a worthy experience if they skipped over what is sure to be an award beast.
Rating by Erik Samdahl, unless otherwise stated.