Judas and the Black Messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah ★★★★

Refusing to allow his timely and provocative biopic to be a standard history lesson, Shaka King mounts Judas and the Black Messiah with the hard-won grit and visual confidence of a classic cops-and-criminals story, one in which the only criminals are the cops and the only warriors for justice are treated as the opposite. Lakeith Stanfield is excellent, but Daniel Kaluuya is on another level. With piercing eyes and exquisite wordplay at the forefront, he finds unlimited ways to shade this depiction of Fred Hampton, giving equal care to both the human being and the icon. This is more of a sidenote, but it seems we've reached a point when even the influence of latter-day Scorsese is coming to light; from the identity crises to the cycle of betrayal to the casting of Martin Sheen and Jesse "Meth Damon" Plemons, this film has quite a bit of The Departed in its DNA, and that's always a good thing.

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