Judas and the Black Messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah ★★★★½

DAMN this was good. It begs comparison to other cat-and-mouse movies about the same period like Blackkklansmen, but I liked this one even more. The pace, the historical realism, and performances are even better here. Kaluuya and Stanfield are not depicting well known figures here, I only learned about Fred Hampton's assassination as a young adult and he's nowhere near the level of fame as Malcolm or Dr. King in American memory, but I sincerely think the world the movie is being released into will only learn and grow from it's existence. Film doesn't just depict history here, it presents you with characters fully committed to war they were fighting against American White Supremacy, contrasted by the anxious struggle one man had with himself to undermine the movement he co-opted. Knowing how this ends does nothing to remove the drama, and I appreciated the film doesn't "spoil" the tragedy with some hammy newsreel at the opening. The inclusion and recreation of O'Neal's television appearance (with little fanfare) was a perfectly understated way to bring it back to reality for the less history-obsessed viewers. Finally, I wanted to say I just loved the color grading and production of this film, it felt like an honest depiction of the times without nostalgia glasses.

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