neil’s review published on Letterboxd:
“You can kill a revolutionary but you can’t kill a revolution.”
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the first great film of 2021.
Despite not knowing a single thing about the plot of this movie, I gotta say I pretty much figured out what this entire story was essentially going to be once the title got displayed on screen and it's true meaning became vividly clear to me. And while the film never really surprised me with everything that followed, I still remained completely enthralled and utterly infuriated by the narrative that director Shada King has presented us with and due to the excellent performances of both Lakeith Stanfield and Daniel Kaluuya. The is a film that thrives because how well it manages to maintain such an uncompromising tone that never comes across as sentimental. If I have to describe this movie in two words, it would be: viciously unapologetic.
If there is a complaint to be had, it is that I wished we had gotten a better insight on William O'Neal's headspace was and how his mind worked mentally. We never really get an examination of his mental status and I feel like they could have done a better job exploring him especially considering he's essentially the protagonist of this story and his character development just feels underwritten. And there are some subplots that I really could have done without. Nonetheless, Judas and The Black Messiah remains a very engrossing character driven thriller that triumphs due to the soaring performances and Shada King's excellent direction.