Sutton Brown’s review published on Letterboxd:
What I liked:
- The movie has picked the perfect time to release. Like last years Trial of the Chicago 7, the movie's themes and characters are timely.
- It feels like every little piece set up early in the film matter later on. Even some decisions can have massive consequences. After Fred Hampton is locked away it leads to desperation with the members of the party. These consequences then have their very own. When a movie makes notice of very small pieces in big ways, it makes for some great emotional sequences.
- The betrayal in the climax is devastating but earned. It all works thanks to some great character development for Fred Hampton and William O'Neil.
- Daniel Kaluuya gives the performance of a lifetime as Black Panther chairman Fred Hampton. The energy and charisma leads to some of the best sequences of the movie. Everyone else really knocks it out of the park too.
- The aesthetics of the 1960's is captivating.
What I'm mixed about:
- The movie is a bit narratively inconsistent. At first, it majorly a recollection the events through O' Neil. After a bit, it focuses a bit heavier on Fred Hampton. I respect it was to connect us to Fred Hampton a bit more. However, I would have preferred if it were a bit more focused on O' Neil.
- The score is a bit distracting for me. I know alot of people love it, but it was a bit too much at times. Other times, I think it's quite good.
While there are some issues with the narration, Judas and the Black Messiah is nonetheless a timely depiction of racial injustice. The two leads dominate every second in a film with excellent direction and powerful emotions. Highly Recommended.