Eddie Ryan’s review published on Letterboxd:
This is filmmaking at its best. I love that while this film is certainly a scripted account, that it weaves actual footage into the story. Taking a note from Spike there.
The acting is of course amazing. Let's start at the top, Daniel Kaluuya (Fred Hampton). Kaluuya doesn't even seem to be acting in this film. He has been very selective with the characters he plays, and personally, I love every choice he makes (Get Out, Widows, Black Panther, Queen and Slim).
Paired with Lakeith Stanfield's manic performance, it's just a pleasure watching both of these actors work. Lakeith plays the real-life character of Bill O'Neal probably one of the more complex characters I've seen on screen.
Attention alert: Dominique Fishback is a force in this film. She goes toe to toe with Kaluuya and is a warrior throughout. She plays Fred Hampton's partner, Deborah johnson.
I think why this film hits on so many levels is because the film takes its time to build the three main characters. Fishback is not just playing a supporting role there are deeper questions she is asking of herself and Fred while also staying true to the struggle and movement they are fighting for.
I for one am glad to see Black Cinema shine.
Shaka King mixes modern music, sleek camera work and great pacing to build a rule transformational story. Check it out on HBO MAX.