Judas and the Black Messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah ★★★★½

For a second feature, Shaka King has officially made his mark. GOD DAMN this was good. Sean Bobbit's incredible eye is one thing, but the tension King shakes out of this is EXPERT LEVEL SHIT. This is like a smarter Donnie Brasco and a more revealing BlacKKKlansman(since this was actually more shockingly accurate-as opposed to fabrication for entertainment's sake). The music was also striking and elevated the tension as well. Plus this is a story that needed to be told.

The performances are truly sensational across the board. Daniel Kaluuya could very well win an Oscar for his immediately captivating turn as Fred Hampton. All of his monologues are powerfully arresting. And the accuracy of his voice is scarily similar. As incredible as he is, don't forget about LaKeith Stanfield, in what might be a true star making turn for the dynamic actor. He plays the definition of an empathetic character, and Stanfield exhibits restraint beyond his years, while his eyes say so much. Heartbreaking work. Jesse Plemons also shines as the cool one moment-slimy the next FBI scrooge. He's perfectly eerie, as an ultimately soulless government leach. Dominique Fishback is also terrific, and is powerfully understated. Algee Smith, Ashton Sanders and Lil Rel Howery round out a solid as fuck supporting cast. With Martin Sheen being the only real head scratcher, when it came to casting J EDGAR HOOVER. His makeup and lack of accent is distracting.

I didn't like how the pacing sort of slides off near the 3rd act, and it's a bit rushed to be honest. The message is still essential and the filmmaking is on point, and the performances are all pretty outstanding. And how this doesn't have annoying crime biopic cliches, and sticks to the true story is refreshing. I just wish it went a bit deeper. But this really does deserve all the attention it's going to get.

THIS WAS WRITTEN BY THE LUCAS TWINS

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