Judas and the Black Messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah ★★★½

2020 ranked - #38

Watched via Sundance screener.

Daniel Kaluuya is a revelation as always, commanding the screen in every scene and creating some electrifying moments out of thin air. The direction from Shaka King is also excellent; even when the story sags, the visual look of the film is dynamic and engaging. The script has some serious shortcomings however; the plot feels kinda aimless and the motivations of the central character aren't as well-defined as I would've liked. Aside from Jesse Plemons, the FBI is mostly made up of caricatures and their dialogue when discussing the case is laughable. This exists in a weird middle ground between a straightforward exploration of a failed relationship (a la The Social Network) and a sprawling cat-and-mouse crime drama (a la The Departed), when committing to one or the other would have improved the storytelling. Still, the larger-than-life performances and the examination of a great man lost to history make this a worthwhile watch.

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