Sam Meltzer’s review published on Letterboxd:
Best Picture Rewatch 2021 - Film 4: Judas and the Black Messiah
From a historical perspective, Judas and the Black Messiah is, undisputedly, the most significant film to come out within the past year. Showcasing an in-depth true story that deems a striking impression, rarely concealing the jarring and cruel nature of the late 60s Chicago society and brutally outspoken events. The Black Panther Party consisted of those who simply wanted to fight against police cruelty, yet their motives seemed either unprecedented or needless to others creating a perpetual force of action and battle. However, the primary reason as to why the film possesses a great sense of humanity is due to the characters. Lakeith Stanfield’s Bill O’Neal displays a beautiful perception of development, going from a rebellious deceiver to someone who acts upon social justice. Daniel Kaluuya’s honest and fierce turn as Fred Hampton has received certain criticisms due to the age gap between the actor and the real man himself. My take is that Fred Hampton was a symbol of morality and generosity to the public, a role in which age shouldn’t have much importance. The film’s pacing is still a factor that I consider to be flawed. Referring to the side plots, I feel as though the length of a fraction of those scenes could’ve been trimmed down in order to make the whole feel more succinct. Nonetheless, this couldn’t have come out at a more perfect time as it’s one that’s relevant in its thematic facets and compassionate in its characters.