Daniel Sarmiento’s review published on Letterboxd:
A ticking bomb of a tragedy; this film is so heavy, y'all.
Gorgeous cinematography/blocking, beautiful colours, ingenious dialogue, and a score snubbed for even an Oscar nomination, Judas and the Black Messiah succeeds at being a cinematic time machine, bringing us back to 1969, an utterly heartbreaking period that this film displayed flawlessly.
It delivers on powerful premise & performances, and Daniel Kaluuya winning an Academy award tonight only adds proof to the brilliance he exerts onto the screen.
His vibrance with each of his co-stars, namely Stanfield & Fishback, is undeniably existent, and his presence is stupendously efficient at inspiring as Chairman Fred Hampton, making me wanna start chanting alone in my dark room. That Oscar victory is a victory well-earned, and the history made is a history forever paved.
Every bright shot is framed up like a mural, and every dark room is lit like a burning candle. Such a good-looking movie, telling such a painful tale, and it's damn effective.
This is one of those movies that'll leave you feeling stressed/intrigued for its entirety, as you only get to breathe once the credits start rolling, but even then, the polluted air they inhaled at this point in history is the same air we share today, and it's a hard-hitting look at a devastating travesty that left me utterly speechless & shook by its 2-hr mark.
Jesse Plemons and Lakeith Stanfield also knock it out of the park, but when do they not tho? Such a loveable hateable duo.
Coming out roughly around the same period as The Trial of the Chicago 7 is, put simply, naked poetry, but in terms of films I'd ever wanna revisit again first, Judas and the Black Messiah takes that one.
Whereas this film squeezes until you can't think about tapping out, I felt like the contrast with Sorkin's style for that flick was moreover like the tension was squeezing intermittently, so you had more space to feel relaxed and calm, all because of his humor/witty dialogue that added to that "elevated reality"/fictionalized telling, on top of the back-and-forth narrative structure that isn't overly utilized here.
Judas and the Black Messiah is an impactful jet engine going a 100-mph, never once braking to allow for a second of recuperation from the punches it packs.
I loved every minute of it, but dreaded every second.
You know what's coming, yet you hope it never does... and that's a harsh reality seen thru the artistic lens of the one and only Shaka King.