Judas and the Black Messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah ★★★½


I enjoy when films are challenging. When films can educate you on something that you did not know about, whether that's because you were never put in the situation where you could learn about it, or even in cases where it would be information some people wouldn't want you to know. I have really only in the past couple of years fully gotten to learn who the Black Panthers were and are. True life stories, real-life people often have complications that can't just be summed up into history lessons. So, we get stories passed down, and with each one of those passed on, you can learn a little more. You tell your story, inform others of your history, and that knowledge trickles down. In the case of what Judas and the Black Messiah had to teach me, I did not know about the Rainbow Coalition until now. I am grateful for movies like these being made not just for black people to see their stories on stage, but for others to learn more about things they should have known a long time ago. Very robust performances across the board, an investing musical score, and at times utterly incredible cinematography drives this story of treachery and revolution. LaKeith Stanfield, maybe my favorite young actor today, gives what might be his greatest performance, or at least the first one that truly gets to explore his range as a fantastic actor. The character of Bill O'Neil falls in-line with the complexities of the film, how violence is something that moves in circles, how systematic oppression remains for the benefits of some and the squandering of others. Akin to how the police system cannot be broken down by killing the right cops, as is so resonantly stated in the film, you can kill a revolutionary, but you cannot kill revolution. Justice remains because it is right, and it will be fought for until it's rightfully earned. The first very strong film of the 2021, and one that I hope remains in the social conscious throughout the year.


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