Citizen Kris’s review published on Letterboxd:
This film is aptly named. A biblical parable comes to life, with different pieces, with similar results.
Judas and the Black Messiah is a brutal story that touches on the timely subject matter of systemic racism and manipulation within law enforcement. All resulting in tragedy. It tells a piece of American history that is kept off. That makes it the most important film of the year.
There is a Judas to the story in Bill (LaKeith Stanfield). But the real enemy is the FBI and the pressures to eliminate Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya). The portrayal of former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover is one that's ruthless and persistent in ordering the destruction of the Black Panther Party and Hampton. Because God forbid they do anything to the KKK and David Duke, right? This differs from more heroic and bureaucratic portrayals of Hoover in the past.
The powerhouse performances of Kaluuya and Stanfield are what carry this film. The story and the relevance of its issues also pack a powerful punch. Keep your eyes peeled for Dominique Fishback in this movie. Her emotional performance is a peaceful and poetic harp within all the noise in this film.
This movie suffers from some pacing issues throughout, though. It takes its time in leaving no details out.
2020 Ranked: #11