Judas and the Black Messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah ★★★★

Another 2021 Oscar winner, this time Best Supporting Actor for Daniel Kaluuya, and deservedly so. This is one of those biographical dramas that makes you angry about the state of the world – how it was back in the 1960s and how it still is today.

I didn’t know a whole lot about Fred Hampton before seeing this, though I did recall his fleeting appearance in The Trial of the Chicago 7 last year. This film fills in the blanks through an unflinching and powerful screenplay backed by strong ensemble performances throughout.

No one in the FBI or the police comes out of this with any credit or sympathy. At best incompetent, but mostly bigoted and racist. As more and more documents reveal what really went on in the post-war years in America and other ‘enlightened’ western countries expect more filmmakers to shine a light and share stories like this.

For a generation that will mostly think of Marvel Comics and Chadwick Boseman when they hear about Black Panthers this is an important film in the growing black history genre. Incidentally, The Black Panther character in Marvel was created by Stan Lee in 1966, the same year the political movement was founded, but some months earlier. Neither drew on the other for inspiration as far as I can tell.

Whilst this film does not particularly need the big screen, I was happy to see it in the cinema for pretty much the same price it would have cost me to rent online.

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