Judas and the Black Messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah ★★★½

Angelica Jade Bastién’s article nails it and says it better than I ever could. Though Shaka King and Co. build up tension with sharp editing and a chilling score, Judas somehow feels a bit... empty. Daniel Kaluuya and Lakieth Stanfield give passionate performances, but their characters never feel very fleshed out. 

And casting older actors strips away some of the frustrating, depressing edges of this story. Bill O’Neal was only 17 years old when he was recruited by the FBI, and 20 when his actions led to the murder of 21 year old Fred Hampton. Imagine how much more impactful the movie would be if the actors were closer to the age of the people they’re playing. 

But despite its issues, the story of the Black Panthers is important to see in mainstream media. We should be taught about this in schools and it’s bs we aren’t. Judas never fails to be angering, informative, and riveting- but if there were to be another half an hour or so for character details, the Panthers would feel more like actual people than symbols.

Griffin Stenzel liked this review