This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
P.k.’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Warning for mild spoilers if you're unaware of the history this film is based on.
This movie is must-see for Americans. Though the directorial work from Shaka King is more efficient and competent than truly impressive, Judas and the Black Messiah has two major boons operating in its favor.
First off, all of the acting in it is just superb. Daniel Kaluuya's turn as Black Panther chairman Fred Hampton is especially wonderful and convinced me that he has the opportunity to be one of the most talented actors going right now if he keeps picking up roles like this. Lakeith Stanfield, playing the role of the titular Judas, is great as always as well, but Kaluuya steals the show.
Second, and more importantly, Judas and the Black Messiah dramatizes one of the darkest and most unconscionable moments in America's recent domestic history. I was worried the film would water down either what Hampton represented - revolutionary socialist change - or how he died - in a cowardly assassination orchestrated by the FBI and Chicago police working in concert - but it does not. More people should know this story, more people should know Fred Hampton's name and the things he fought for, and more people should be horrified by what the United States of America did to him and his movement. I can only hope this movie helps with that.
The fact that Aaron Sorkin's mealy-mouthed and white-washed The Trial of the Chicago 7 is even in the same conversation as this film is shameful.
4 out of 5 stars. Streamed via HBO Max with a subscription.