Judas and the Black Messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah ★★★½

it’s amazing that even in 2021, a film about fred hampton got backed by a big studio but at the same time, that’s literally where most of my problems lie, hampton’s and by extension, the black panther party’s radical and revolutionary politics aren’t able to be touched upon, you will not watch this film and hear hampton talk about how capitalism and racism go hand in hand, you hear the word ‘socialism’ once at the very beginning during a recreation of one of hampton’s filmed speeches and that’s about it and i cant fault shaka king or anyone else involved for that, after all why would a big studio want a condemnation of capital. 

a lesser gripe that i don’t think effects the quality of the film but rather could have enhanced it given that hampton’s politics beyond being a revolutionary and living for the people (though again the film can’t actually fully explore what that means) is that fred hampton was *21* years old and i think it’s easy to forget how young he was especially when you are watching the 32 year old daniel kaluuya and kaluuya is wonderful, i’ve never seen that man give a bad performance and i don’t think i ever will but i just think a younger actor in the role could have been more impactful. 

despite all of this, what king has made is really great and i do recommend watching the murder of fred hampton (1971) which i viewed earlier today to see hampton in action, which this film borrows footage from. also it was nice to spot footage from agnès varda’s black panthers in the opening montage too.

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