marcus’s review published on Letterboxd:
Judas and the Black Messiah, has been for the most part positively received ever since it’s release. There was a lot of hype and anticipation for this film, and rightfully so. Lakeith Stanfield and Daniel Kaluuya deliver some of the most outstanding performances I’ve seen in a while. I am especially impressed by Daniel Kaluuya, who laid absolutely everything on the line in this role. Thus further solidifying my theory that he wins a supporting actor award come Oscar night.
At its heart, the film is a very politically progressive centred one. It’s also a very devastating film, more significantly in its closing minutes. The film manages to pack in a lot of very crucial and relevant themes during its runtime. Both the characters of Bill O’Neal and Fred Hampton are based off real life human beings, and the convergence of their stories in this film are depicted to perfection.
Kaluuya’s take on the latter is an inspirational display of his abilities. The various monologues, the poise and determination he brings to the character, and just the way he dazzles each scene he’s in with his presence are all attributing factors to his tremendous effort on this film. Stanfield on the other hand, portrays a character who is tasked by the FBI to infiltrate the Black Panther party. He does very well playing into both sides and doesn’t drift too far from Kaluuya’s masterful act.
Technically, there’s a lot to marvel about here. I personally thought that the screenplay is quite neat and engaging. The pacing felt just right for the narrative’s events to gradually unfold and push through efficiently. Additionally, Shaka King’s direction is very polished and persuasive. The beautiful cinematography wasn’t something I anticipated going in, but on the contrary this is one of the most beautifully shot films I’ve seen this year and filled with a lot of gorgeous visuals as well. The bottomline is, Judas and the Black Messiah is a great film; which is definitely worthy of countless prestigious awards.
★ ★ ★ ★ ½