ash’s review published on Letterboxd:
“Words are beautiful, but action is supreme, you dig?”
Judas and the Black Messiah is a potent film, striking with a powerful urgency and relevance at its core. To label Daniel Kaluuya’s performance as just magnetic is undermining the sheer, raw talent and attention he commands every time he appears on screen. He is a roaring sensation here, igniting every line, every single delivery with a thunderous passion and sense of tangibility. Yet, even as amazing as he is, I still struggle to call this his career-best performance, which speaks more to his versatility and acting abilities, than it does to anything else, because he is a revelation. It almost seems unfair to everyone else in the best supporting actor race this season that they’ll have to go against Kaluuya, because he’s bound to shake up awards season. Same goes for the rest of the film and its performances. The performances are so essential, so genuine and affecting that they almost overshadow the film itself, but vitally, Shaka King’s impassioned and benign direction stands strong here. It’s an impressive bout of performances but even more so, it’s incredible how King pulls it all off, cohesively and affectingly, in such massive strides. For such a fresh face in the film landscape, Shaka King reinvigorates this picture with such captivation, and albeit certain pacing issues, this stands as a brilliant film, but further than that pertinent to this day and age particularly, linking history to the present in a solidarity of relevance and importance.