Judas and the Black Messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah ★★★

Right from the start it could have done with a bit more background information to set the premise of the story, as the first few introductory sequences of the characters and their unfolding story feel a bit shaky. This shakiness is amplified by what feels like inexperienced directorial choices of character writing, unconvincing tonal choices, poor editing and average story layering as scene after scene unfolds. Because of this the film suffers from a lack of a strong emotional core and a gripping engagement for most of its runtime, as it merely feels like a shortsighted performative piece of historical events that relies on its audience's awareness of Black oppression and identity politics to insinuate meaning along the way. Ironically, the strongest sense of emotion and intensity comes in the third act of the film when Bill O'Neal (the Judas of this story) is confronted by the guilt of his decisions (perhaps becoming more understandable when you realise the best actor out of all the talented actors in this movie plays this role - LaKeith Stanfield). Daniel Kaluuya has his moments when he is performing speeches, but other than that, the character of Fred Hampton (the Black Messiah) feels severely underwritten and one-dimensional. Could have been better, should have been better when you look at the ratings online and its award-season appeal.

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