Judas and the Black Messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah ★★

you can donate money to the project to restore and preserve Chairman Fred Hampton’s childhood home at the bottom of this entry. I think this film’s best strength is that it’ll promote the life and readings of Hampton and how much the government robbed from him and other Black revolutionaries, but I think its biggest failure is that after all the hype it’s gotten and the star studded soundtrack album it’s inspired, this GoFundMe still needs 25,000 dollars before it’s completed. no real interest in going into significant detail since there are plenty of Black writers who have already highlighted the strengths and failures of this as a depiction of Hampton and the Panthers’ ideological beliefs, but Kaluuya and Stanfield are both way too fucking old and take away from the fact that Fred Hampton was 21 years old when he was murdered. he was barely old enough to drink and was several years younger than Tom Holland is now which is still insane to think about. a younger actor would have been a much better choice to convey that heartbreak instead of just putting it as a title card at the end, even though I do think Kaluuya’s very good for the most part. the movie’s at its best when it’s a collection of archive footage and that feels like an indictment of the whole project in a way. don’t think it’s bad but it doesn’t delve enough into Hampton’s character, his political ideologies or even his murder to be a truly radical project worthy of his legacy. it also doesn’t go into O’Neill’s perspective well enough to make his inclusion into the script and the critical framing of the structure justified. it feels like it should have been an hour longer, as it constantly feels like it’s bordering on something truly exceptional, a study and personification of the man and the movement that will influence generations to come. instead, it comes across as unfocused and ultimately not as radical as it could have been. i would give up this movie in a heartbeat in favour of this home managing to be restored, and the fact that no one involved in the production seemed to feel the same way proves that they weren’t the right people to make a movie about Fred Hampton. I was hesitant going in and I’m sad that it didn’t do much to make me feel alleviated, and I have some definite issues with how the framing of the shooting sequences and particularly Hampton’s murder are executed, but it doesn’t really matter if I’m the one to go into detail about them. you should all see The Murder of Fred Hampton that’s free on YouTube and Vimeo, which will give you the necessary perspectives and the radicalism that his legacy deserves. he deserves to be remembered, not as a vessel for grandiose speeches or the path to an Oscar win, but as someone who did so much for his community and inspired so many people with his communist ideas and a commitment to bringing people together. I hope that this does function as a stepping stone for people to take Hampton’s legacy on board and to ensure that his ideas are not forgotten. really hope that. please give some money to this project or share it around if you can’t afford to personally, it would be special to get it finalised in the near future. 


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