Judas and the Black Messiah (2021)

Directed by Shaka King

Starring Daniel Kaluuya, Lakeith Stanfield, Jesse Plemons, Martin Sheen

I find it fascinating how many stories can be found in those turbulent times. I knew of the Black Panthers but this story was completely new for me. I think I said in another review, that the stories from this era (the 60’s) interest me a lot because it was a time of many changes in culture, music, and many other things.

William O’Neal was a car thief that one night gets caught by agent Roy Mitchell who offers him a way out of prison. Roy wants O’Neal to become a part of the Black Panther Party in Chicago so they can catch Fred Hampton and his group.

The movie was great. I found the story to be very interesting and honest in the sense that it showed that the organization has its good services but that they were armed for whatever reason. Of course, the real villain in the story is racism and its existence in the police and the F.B.I. Once again the figure of J. Edgar Hoover comes to light as an evil leader. Based on other takes on his tactics I believe that the despicable and coward act shown in the film is true. I don’t mind the investigating part, it is the way that I think bothers me. The movie is a great look at the fight for civil rights and the Panther’s role. I knew little of Fred Hampton and upon research, he was trying to bring social change and the threat was his voice. It shows them to be revolutionaries but even with that, the police look worse just on their tactics.

The performances in the film were great. Martin Sheen as Hoover was brilliant, he is a few scenes but he nails it. Daniel Kaluuya was amazing in his performance. Lakeith Stanfield reminded me of Johnny Depp’s performance in Donnie Brasco, where an FBI agent infiltrates the mob and then he struggles because he begins to care about them. His performance showed the conflict the character must have gone through at the end when he knows what they are going to do to Fred and he must help.

I enjoyed the movie a lot and now will go on to trying to learn everything I can about these events and the aftermath.

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