Judas and the Black Messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah

Just fantastic. Three of the best actors of the last ten years putting in powerhouse performances in a story told with precision and power. 

Black Panther Revolutionary Leader Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya) and FBI Agent Roy Mitchell (Jesse Plemons) duke it out, exchanging blows in their own ways, with thief-turned-conflicted “Judas” Bill O’Neal (LaKeith Stanfield) caught in the middle. The dynamics of power here are put on display so well, and each actors is SO good at bringing these characters to life. Tension bubbles throughout, and our inevitable conclusion is as anger-inducing as one might imagine.

The movie makes note to mention at the end that the real Bill O’Neal gave his account of the events that took place on TV just once, in 1989. He speaks not like a man who has accepted his role in the entire thing, but like a man who is justifying their actions because he could not face the things that he did. The documentary aired in 1990, and O’Neal committed suicide the day after it aired (if I remember correctly). He had to live with the guilt of what he had done all his life - driven to a rock and a hard place by some truly evil bastards (I looked at the members of the FBI portrayed in this film and wondered how they could sleep at night).

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