Garrett Pullen’s review published on Letterboxd:
2021 Films Ranked-HERE
This has been my most anticipated film for probably the last half year or so. I love Kaluuya and Stanfield and especially with that electric trailer we got I knew I was in for a treat with both of their performances. And that's exactly what I got. Kaluuya just stole the show! But what impressed me the most is that it wasn't simply the fiery, intense performance that I was expecting. Kaluuya also brought gentleness and peace to the character of Fred Hampton, something I didn't expect. Throw in Stanfield's anxious demeanor and a surprise great performance from Dominique Fishback and now I can see why this picked up CC nomination for best acting in an ensemble.
Now since this was my most anticipated film, I did kind of have crazy high expectations of the film which were not fair. Not to say that the film didn't meet those expectations, but I think it did that in a different way than I was expecting. I guess looking at the trailer and the premise, I was expecting a more standard undercover agent storyline; very intense and suspenseful. I think because of that expectation, I almost felt like something was missing from the film; a suspenseful scene to make me hold my breath, some more action, etc. Because of this expectation, it took me a while to figure out what this film really was: a Fred Hampton biopic.
Once I caught onto this, I was then able to buy in to the film. I knew a little about the Fred Hampton story but not much about the kind of person he was. I loved seeing the peaceful side of Hampton and the Black Panther Party because that isn't always the side of the story we see. Overall this was just a story that needed to be told and I think this film did a great job in telling that story while also portraying both sides of the war.