Judas and the Black Messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah ★★★★½

King gets the most out of the ensemble who deliver power punches through soaring speeches, quieter moments, and deceptive nefariousness. Speaking of which, Plemons is chilling as the smooth-talking, manipulative federal agent. He seems like the perfect neighbor, but he can just as easily arrange the framing of an innocent man with the same emotionless disconnect as he offers a cocktail. You can read the internal anguish O’Neal wrestles with on Stanfield’s face. In his moments of silence, the pathos that exists behind his eyes alone is incredible. And, as stated but worth mentioning again, Kaluuya is electrified. He disappears into Hampton, transforming into the charismatic leader, delivering his words with a hypnotic cadence.

"Judas and the Black Messiah" is transfixing and profound cinema. There is an underlying and haunting sadness throughout. History has proved there is no magical happy ending. Not for the people involved, the movement, or the state of race in the world. In a year of strong finishes, the closing of the film, (especially an on-screen epilogue) is about as impactful as you see this year. It knocks the wind out of you. At the same time, there is a glimmer of hope that these stories are reaching a wider audience. I am sure it will anger some people (something always does), but it will also start discussions. Just about any scene here that can be broken down into a meaningful socio/political/economic/racial discussion for every character on screen. This is exactly why film can be such a powerful medium. Film can be part of the revolution.

Full review at: screenradar.com/film-review-judas-and-black-messiah/

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