Judas and the Black Messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah ★★★★½

I am glad I watched this film.
They never taught us about Fred Hampton in my public school-- we barely even touched on Malcolm X. And while this might not be the most faithful representation of how it all went down, it's certainly a nuanced and impressively acted portrayal of the government's efforts to shut down the Black Panthers by cold-blooded murder. Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield bring their A-game to their roles as Fred Hampton and William O'Neal, respectively. Stanfield's final lines to Kaluuya are chillingly raw and human. The cinematography and color palette, while warm, is not exactly inviting, per se-- but it is certainly visually appealing and a strong plus for the film. The shot composition is at its best in the final act of the film, where we see Dominique Fishback acting eyes only with so much gravitas at the moment of the worst despair. Although I knew what would happen, it did still shock me in how real, rough, and raw it was, and I can feel this is certainly a contender for one of the best films of the upcoming year. Bravo, Shaka King and company for creating this dramatic art of history.

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