Judas and the Black Messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…

"You can kill a liberator, but you can't kill the liberation. You can kill a revolutionary, but you can't kill a revolution. You can kill a freedom-fighter, but you can't kill freedom."

Here are the two real quotes this might have been adapted from though: "You can run a freedom fighter around the country but you canโ€™t run freedom, fighting around the country. You can murder a liberator, but you canโ€™t murder liberation." & "You might run a liberator like Eldridge Cleaver out of the country, but you canโ€™t run liberation out of the country. You might murder a freedom fighter like Bobby Hutton, but you canโ€™t murder freedom fighting." (The latter being during the Chicago 7 trial)

I'm sure I'm not the first or last person to say this but, Judas and the Black Messiah is Donnie Brasco + Black Mass + The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Fordย x an easily digestible for the white audiences topical BLM plot. What I mean by the last part is simply put in the fact that this sure to rake in awardsโ€”actually worthwhileโ€”Oscar bait sophomore effort is more of a well-made, brisk overview of Fred Hampton that will get white people more engaged to just how long the war for civil rights has been going in the States: the talk of the office, the subject of emails or calls from "allies," etc. I am not demeaning the film or trying to instigate at all, but it's not as in depth with the socio-political as it could have very well beenโ€”which was surely a deliberate decision in order for people to actually watch it. Making it more of a 60s crime thriller enclosed within the interview bookends, and occasional breaks via FBI check-ins (provided by a terrific Jesse Plemmons), really serve to keep you invested and entertained. Isham's groovy score and Bobbitt's (longtime McQueen collaborator) cinematography really drives the aesthetic and tone of this film even further (especially those nighttime reflections in the car). While Lakeith Stanfield continues to bring his A-game in an awards worthy supporting role, it's oh so clear that Daniel Kaluuya is the standout star of this passionate film, yet again firing off all cylinders as he's been doing so since Get Out (or Black Mirror's Fifteen Million Merits for the day 1 stans). The awards buzz for him is truly merited and I hope he is able to add a little gold man to his closet. That said, I do wish the film focused more on the titular "Black Messiah"โ€”as his life and legacy are enough to make a sole film onโ€”but speaking of "titular," this film is more the story of the first name there: "Judas."ย 

Shaka King's film is sure to be one of the best films of the year, and included within many top 10 listsโ€”it'll certainly and justifiably bring more recognition and financial backing to his name. I strongly encourage you seek it out, but more importantly I hope that it sparks some curiosity and personal research on the names and events involved within the film. "We say you donโ€™t fight racism with racism. Weโ€™re gonna fight racism with solidarity."

PS: I'm not sure if this qualifies for this year's Oscars, but Stanfield is going to bring some tough competition to Delroy Lindo.


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