Aaron Murray’s review published on Letterboxd:
Judas & The Black Messiah has a rage that only few films can be fuelled by. It's timely, fierce and has an intense energy which carries it over the 2 hour runtime with no difficulty. It's a film that grips you from the very beginning and takes you on a journey that even when it reaches it's natural conclusion, leaves you shaken and angry.
Even though the events depicted took place in the late 1960s, it's still just as timely today. The response from the oppressors is one of fear & anger because someone decides to step out of line and question the powers that be. Why should a race be offered less and be treated as less because of the colour of their skin colour? It's a question with one simple answer and that answer is that they shouldn't. Sadly the people who disagree are the ones that you're forced to vote for, the ones who should work for you yet never work for your interests and worst of all, the people who see you as less than a human being whether because of your skin colour or your upbringing or where you're from.
But, it's not just anger and distain that these people feel. It's also fear. When people rally together and fight back for themselves, that's when real change happens. A twitter movement will be exciting to watch for a couple of weeks but what then? Social media will show you the next movement to take part in and the cycle then repeats itself. The Black Panthers had no social media and they admittedly were a movement that was controversial across all sides for their approach in challenging police brutality.
I'm not here to offer my opinion on the movement as that's simply not my place. The struggles that I may face will never compare to what a black person will live through in their life. The fight against a powerful & terrifying system hasn't ended and it certainly won't end anytime soon. Judas & The Black Messiah depicts events that happened over 50 years ago and yet here we are now, black people are still oppressed and treated as less than equal by people who are meant to serve & protect. We talk so much about the world wars, the war on terror but why not the war that still rages on between the people and the powers that be? At this point and after so much bloodshed & pain & tears & anger, if it's not war then...what the fuck is it?
I realise that a lot of this may not be about the film itself. The direction, the performances, the writing are all fantastic and the film is absolutely incredible. The reason why i'm writing about all of this though is because of how truly powerful this film is. The story is absolutely heartbreaking and as someone who admittedly had no clue about the story of Fred Hampton & William O'Neal, it educated me and opened my eyes to a story that I hope will do the same for others too.