Judas and the Black Messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah ★★★★

Pretty damn great as an informant-based thriller, complete with bold lighting choices, slow-burn tension, and a nervy, unstable performance from LaKeith Stanfield. Some have expressed disappointment at this for not diving deep into what makes Fred Hampton tick, but since it establishes an alternate perspective from the beginning, it gets to avoid many of the boilerplate story beats of a traditional biopic. I do wish that Shaka King committed 100% to making a thriller, as we're still left with ending text and clips that needlessly explain the aftermath of what happened to Hampton. But when it's locked in as a story about a man trying to cater to both sides of the war, it gets to have a fiery personality while also managing to tell a riveting tale in the process.

I'm nowhere near calling this a masterpiece - though you could make a solid argument that this is undoubtedly Stanfield's greatest work - but if this is what gets people to learn about this piece of Black history, I suppose it did exactly what it needed to do.

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