Judas and the Black Messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah ★★★½

Judas and the Black Messiah is the sort of message driven biopic that we often see later in the year during Oscar bait season. These movies frequently feel like sermons, but if I must see a sermon in my cinema, then this is the type of sermon I want to see. The critical component in these biopics is always the acting. Fortunately every single character is portrayed magnificently by an all star cast. This is especially true of Stanfield, who manages to make me empathize with a character that I could have hated had a lesser actor played the role. Other cinematic tools like photography and sound design take a back seat in movies like these which normally bothers me, but the history lesson here is so worth telling that I found myself more taken in than I usually am. Perhaps this is because this movie didn't pull it's punches. Big budget "American History" films will usually offer at least a scrap of redemption to the narrative of the nation. At no point watching this does America, as an institution, seem like anything short of villainous. We aren't given an out like pushing all the blame onto corrupt politicians, or being shown a montage of progress made in the aftermath of the events on screen. This movie is about an ongoing revolution that needs as much attention now as it did then. This movie definitely makes me want to learn more about it's subject which I suppose is the point of making a history lesson into a film in the first place. I hope this leads to more major releases in American Cinema that are willing to shine a spotlight on the uglier parts of our history.

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