Judas and the Black Messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah ★★★★½

90

This is the film that deserves Best Picture this year. It’s not my favorite movie in the roster, Sound of Metal meant a lot more to me on top of being really fucking good. But Judas and the Black Messiah just seems like a film that everybody needs to see. It’s the most resonant film explicitly about racism and brutality against black people that I’ve seen in a long time, and that’s not an exaggeration. This is an incredible projection of power that feels distinctly Spike Lee-esque in presentation. It’s BlacKkKlansman but significantly more subtle, and yet demonstrably more impactful. It features two tour de force performances from LaKeith Stanfield and Daniel Kaluuya, two of the greatest actors to come out of the century so far. The amount of ground these two incredible men have been able to cover in just thirty short years is unreasonable. And here they are, providing two exceptionally dark performances that lead an equally dark film, helped along by powerful editing, gorgeous cinematography, and a beautifully paced screenplay. This morning the two men I mentioned here received Best Supporting Actor nominations for the Oscars, and to be frank, I wouldn’t be disappointed if it ended in a tie.