Judas and the Black Messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah ★★★★½

“During the raid the police fired 99 shots. The Black Panthers fired 1. Nevertheless, the seven survivors faced numerous charges, including attempted murder.”

This is an impressively well directed film that never shows off the direction once. Shaka King’s direction is assured and effective. It’s incredibly exciting to watch, and I am excited to watch whatever he does next. Daniel Kaluuya, LaKeith Stanfield, and Dominque Fishback give career best performances in their already amazing careers. Daniel Kaluuya brings Fred Hampton, who was assassinated by the FBI, the media, and the United States, roaring back to life for audiences who honestly would’ve never heard the man’s words if it weren’t for this film. I genuinely believe that this is one of Daniel Kaluuya’s best performances which is unbelievable to say about someone who has consistently given impressive performances. Dominque Fishback gives an extremely emotional performance that gives this film even more heart than it already has. And LaKeith Stanfield literally pulls off what has to be one of the most challenging roles imaginable. Lakeith gives William O’Neal a heart, a soul, and a life. I genuinely believe that he is one of the best actors in film history. His work in this film is extraordinary and I really can’t stress that enough. This was a profoundly aggravating watch for me though... part of that is the film’s intent, but it’s also because I spent 14 years in public education... and I never learned about any of this. Unbelievably, profoundly, and unequivocally infuriating to me.

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