Judas and the Black Messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah ★★★½

A solid hard-to-watch movie (as expected) about FBI informant Bill O´Neill being used by the police to aid them in the infiltration of The Black Panthers and the assassination of its leader Fred Hampton. It´s a very well made movie on pretty much every aspect and I will absolutely keep my eye on Shaka King and whatever projects he´ll be working on next. But I´m not a huge fan of the choice to structure the story with two main characters. This is without a doubt O´Neills story and he should´ve had a much more prominent role in this narrative - in fact I think it would make sense to tell this story entirely from his point of view. Hampton is integral to the story, yes, but it´s not his story. I felt the storylines with only Hampton - when he´s contemplating his role in the movement, when he hangs out with his girlfriend etc - kind of fell flat since there´s not enough conflict there. I get that you would want to humanize this controversial historical figure before the assassination, but they took it way too far and almost made it preachy and manipulative (almost).

But it´s still one of the better american movies of 2020/2021, it kind of reminded me of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (which is a film I adore). I like that Hampton and the Panthers aren´t overly glorified and that they didn´t ignore the socialist ideals behind the activism. And after having seen this I now realize how simplified and watered down Hampton really was portrayed in The Trial of the Chicago 7 (where Hampton appears as a minor character).

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