Judas and the Black Messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah ★★★½

I'm worried that this will come off as overly negative, so I should probably start by saying that this film definitely has its heart in the right place and does what it needs to do in that place. The execution with the fantastic cinematography and use of music are on point, and Kaluuya is electrifying as Fred Hampton and will make for a great Oscar win, but for me it's LaKeith Stanfield who owns the show with one of the absolute best performances of this awards season. Shaka King's direction is also great in creating the impact of many scenes, so it's certainly an effective and well-made film overall. My issue with it then is that it's way smaller than it should be. It's able to fit in quite a bit of history as it is already, but at the same time it's reaching for way more than it needs or is able to with the various subplots that feel incomplete or distracting, particularly with the FBI scenes which I feel could've been cut down to just O'Neal meeting with Roy. I think that if it were made longer or even a miniseries a lot of the potential at hand could easily be better recognized. Don't get me wrong, it's still a very good film overall and I'm glad to see it recognized by the Academy, but at the same time I think it could've been more.

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