BrayMitch01’s review published on Letterboxd:
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Judas and the Black Messiah is a morally intense movie. Ever since I first saw this film’s trailers a couple of months ago I began to become pretty excited for it’s release and after reading a handful of positive reviews I had built high expectations. This film turned out to be everything I hoped it would be. Also I was lucky enough to see this in theaters so that made my watching experience even better. The plot is great it’s a tragic and captivating story. It’s a story that brilliantly reflects the corruption of the FBI and the ideals of the Black Panther Party durning the late 1960s. The story constantly maintains an unshakable sense of dread and uneasiness that makes the film something you can’t take your eyes off of. Since the story mainly focuses on the conflicts of Billy O’Neil rather than a full on bio-pic of Fred Hampton’s life, many generic aspects were avoided and the story was more interesting too.
The pacing is great since it’s such an engaging story there isn’t a single slow or uninteresting moment. The acting is fantastic LaKeith Stanfield gives a fantastic performance. Stanfield captures the essence of a man that is deeply haunted by his actions and amoral motives extremely well. Daniel Kaluuya gives a stunning supporting performance. He absolutely steals every single scene he’s in, his performance was truly impressive. I really hope he’ll win the Best Supporting Actor Golden Globe and Oscar because he truly deserves to. This film will most likely be remembered because of Kaluuya’s sheer brilliance. Jesse Plemons and Domininque Fishback give very good supporting performances as well. The direction is great from Shaka King, his thought out directorial choices shows how well he was able to craft the atmosphere of a tense and unpredictable time.
The script is great it’s a realistic and memorable script full of well written pieces of dialogue. The cinematography is good this film is stacked with deep close up shots that do a notable job at utilize lighting. The editing is fantastic it’s smooth editing that fits with the tone of the film very well. I noticed that after the moving I Am a Revolutionary scene, every time Hampton in on screen a crowd chanting “I Am a Revolutionary” can be quietly heard in the background. I don’t know how a detail so simple could be so emotionally striking. In terms of the Oscars, Kaluuya will definitely get nominated (and possibly win) Best Supporting Actor. Also I could see this film receiving a Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Editing, and Best Picture nominations. The ending is a devastating ending that left me at a loss for words. Overall Judas and the Black Messiah is a tragic drama that shrewdly echos themes of ruthlessness and treachery amid the Black Panther revolution, it’s a film that’ll definitely maintain a spot as one of 2021’s best films.