Judas and the Black Messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah ★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Watched this today, and I have some mixed feelings on this one. The pacing felt really off. Many scenes completely broke the momentum of the movie, and that along with a few odd editing choices took me out of the experience a good bit. Martin Sheen, under some obvious make-up, gives a one-note and almost laughable performance as Hoover, and I really, REALLY wish we'd gotten to see more of O'Neal's relationship with Hampton. The betrayal at the end doesn't hold as much weight thematically in the film so much as it holds weight purely on historical grounds.

That said, and I know this isn't a revelation, the lead performances here are spectacular. They saved it for me. Kaluuya is as good as you've heard, Stanfield too. Dominique Fishback was a surprise to me, I hadn't heard much about her performance before seeing the film but she knocked it out of the park. The film very much rides on the message of Fred Hampton and Kaluuya's ability to communicate it, and his stellar job at doing so, along with the work of his supporting cast members, makes for a film that's powerful and worth watching in spite of it's flaws.

I'll also say, the directing and cinematography here is above average. It's not award-winning stuff, but it's competent and there are a handful of shots that impressed me.

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