Judas and the Black Messiah ★★★½

Intelligent, lean, and hyperfocused. "Judas and the Black Messiah" could have easily gone wrong, turning into a sentimental biopic. But Shaka King makes sidestepping those pitfalls look easy. The movie knows exactly what story it wants to tell and does so with the intensity of grief. Many scenes are played as a thriller, but by the end the movie is a Shakespearean tragedy. Daniel Kaluuya is electrifying from his very first scene, but every performance is tremendous. This is a movie where everyone, in front and behind the camera, is working at the top of their talents.

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