Judas and the Black Messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah ★★★★½

My eye was drawn to the spaces. This movie is so much about locations, about literal buildings and the contrasts between them. There is a dive bar and the fancy restaurant where Bill gets to dine on steak. There is his shitty little apartment and Roy's suburban home. There is the hum of Black Panther Headquarters, and the stately quiet at the FBI. There are the halls of the Patriots and of the Crowns, and the assembly where Hoover holds court. Bill keeps shifting between radically different worlds, never really belonging to any one of them. He just exists in these spaces, and sometimes, he has to draw them for the benefit of his masters.

As it turns out, some people cannot be afforded their spaces. They cannot be allowed to occupy any bit of this Earth, lest they unite the enemies of the status quo. So they will burn down a building, or come crashing through a door, guns blazing. And they will pay no price for it.

The movie is making a lot of smart choices, keeping up with the sheer brilliance of its performances. The rhetoric is front and center, delivered in powerful bursts by Kaluuya and company, and it feels like the movie is always backing it up with strong aesthetic choices.

Twenty-one. I can't even remember what I was doing when I was twenty-one.

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