Judas and the Black Messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah ★★★

Any film that puts Fred Hampton's life, activism and message into the mainstream is a worthwhile endeavor. There are strong performances from Daniel Kaluuya, LaKeith Stanfield and Dominique Fishback, that carry much of the film - in addition to the remarkable Hampton politics. Perhaps, it's useful the film focuses on the reactions to Hampton (instead of telling more of his story) and tells the story in a less sophisticated way to help bring more people to the topic, history and tragedy.

However, the overall storytelling is too tied to the "Judas" aspect of the story, missing out on a chance to provide more time historical and/or personal context to Hampton's story. There's not much suspense even with this betrayal focus. The FBI/police side of the story is flatly told and suffers from dumbing down, lacking the severity and longevity of their violence and systemic hostility. Get out of here with Sheen and his bad makeup as Hoover - this is some movie of the week bullshit. Numerous character actors would have been better. Additionally, there's little insight on Hoover and his full depravity.

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