Judas and the Black Messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah ★★★★★

Sundance Film #4:
An enthralling piece of historical filmmaking that turns to horror where The Trial of the Chicago 7 turned to over-wrought sentimentalization (which, hey, I didn’t hate), this could be one of the best deal-with-the-Devil movies I’ve seen in a while. I don’t think I’m exaggerating in saying that this film isn’t that far removed from horror, as its narrative gets progressively getting bleaker and bleaker with the film ultimately doubling down on a finale that makes full use of all the sounds and shadows it has in its disposal. Don’t get me wrong, the main genre isn’t horror (it's that same gut-wrenching tension present in that motel scene from No Country From Old Men, which some people admittedly don't call horror but I very much do, which I would counter as not being all that different from the opening of Scream), but the use of it shrewdly throughout the film is what lends it its power.

All of the film’s parts add up and punches the viewer in the gut with tragedy without ever failing to be entertaining or sliding on its filmmaking. The performances are uniformly strong, the craft’s exceptional, and I’m not sure that there’s ever been a movie this good that’s being released so early in the year in recent memory.

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