Judas and the Black Messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah ★★★★

While the Black Panthers have certainly carved out an important place in history the controversy that constantly surrounded them seems to keep them a little deeper in black history when compared to more universal, palette able figures like Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. Judas and the Black Messiah (and also The Trial of the Chicago 7) have helped to keep their stories relevant. The two films would make a fun double feature since they do intertwine just a little bit with Fred Hampton appearing in both films.

Daniel Kaluuya gives a defining performance as Fred Hampton, much like Denzel Washington and David Oyelowo deliver for Malcolm X and Martin Luther King respectively. Kaluuya is magnetic onscreen and particularly impressive during any of Hampton's speeches. He definitely earned his Oscar, and I'd say its one of the best performances over the last handful of years. Lakeith Stanfield is also excellent as Bill O'Neal, a man torn between the Black Panthers and the FBI.

Judas and the Black Messiah is timely and brutal. The film definitely piqued my interest and will definitely launch some research into the history of some of the people involved. Fred Hampton was able to make a huge impact in a very short life, and would have likely become a very powerful man had he lived longer.

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