Judas and the Black Messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah ★★★★

For those pining for the great character actors of a bygone era, I give you Lakeith Stanfield and Jesse Plemons. They could have been the whole movie. Awesome. Scene by scene the tension escalates. We come in late and leave early, beautiful pacing. Hampton is the Christ figure. He is one with the revolution, and the constellation of mortals around him gives us the full spectrum of that experience. In Bill O'Neal, we get all that human frailty we’re uncomfortable with in ourselves. He’s apolitical, but the first thing he communicates is a concrete understanding of the incredible power of the state. He is also moved by community and by the true blue conviction of Hampton. In Deborah Johnson, we get the paradox of self sacrifice for kith or for kin. So the poem she reads is so apt. Also the tender moments are some of the best parts of the movie. Bio pics so often bet everything on romantic scenes in order to sell the significance of a “true story”. This one is pitched just right.

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