Judas and the Black Messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah ★★★★½

Titles can be a tricky thing. In many ways they are meant to convey, to encapsulate the entire plot of a movie, a song or any material. However, more and more, titles tend to just serve as a marketing tool with rare connection to the final product that’s been promoted. So imagine my surprise, when putting all the pieces together on this movie with everything that happened in the film to the way our two core protagonist met their demise, the title isn’t just cool – the title captures the entire movie in a nutshell. The film follows very closely the events that lead to the passion of Christ, though in this time the “savior” wasn’t God incarnated but a strong voice in the black community that aimed to bring justice and equality for its people just to have the “justice leaders” take him down, mostly because of their own personal bias, their own personal fears and the corruption that took hostage of the institution that was meant to bring safety, to bring order. And if that’s just not tragic enough, the person who helped bring down this “savior” is an inside man.

While Daniel and the real Fred couldn’t be much different looking to each other (I literally caught like three different actors that resembled the real Hampton), but despite not looking the par, his performance was simply magnetic and powerful. You get to feel for this man, you get to sympathize with man, but you also get to fear this man. The same goes for O’Neal, there’s a sense of remorse that haunt him for years to come, but at the same time you understand he’s not an entire kind-hearted man. Cause the truth is this is not a black or white film, its all gray.

Technically speaking, the direction by King was great. He does a very good job balancing all the tones, injecting the enough anger though never to the level of, say, a Spike Lee movie. It never feels entirely manipulative. The score was very good, though the whole distortion and weird melodies, I get what was the intention, but at times it didn’t land for me and was simply distracting, even annoying. But when done right, the music was pretty effective. And the cinematography was really good as well.

All in all, an exhilarating and wonderful movie that deserves to be seen. It delivers on all cylinders with wonderful performances and great technical work.

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Judas and The Black Messiah

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