Judas and the Black Messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah ★★★★

In the late 1960s, the Chicago chapter of the revolutionary protest group (the Black Panthers) was led by charismatic 21-year old Fred Hampton. The FBI especially targeted this chapter, placing an informant (Bill O'Neal) close to the leadership. That is the real-life source of this film, which is a scathing reminder that Black Lives Matter has a dark history in recent times which needs this timely retelling. I'm not going to summarize the film's plot, other than the true events depicted seem more shocking today than ever. Actors Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield give outstanding performances as Hampton and O'Neal respectively. The film is shot in dark and somber tones that accurately reflect the upheavals in society as a whole at that time. That so much of this story is unfamiliar to me (a white liberal in my 20s at the time, working in Hollywood on a TV show called "The FBI"), is a source of shame...maybe not for me in particular, but for the failures of the media to shine a bright enough light on the abuses of J. Edgar Hoover's storm troopers in the Nixon era.

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