Judas and the Black Messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah ★★★★

Representing 2020 among Films Nominated for Best Picture

This historical drama from writer-director Shaka King is simply rich with cultural, ethnic, and ethical messaging, delivered by the superb performances of Daniel Kaluuya as 1960s Black Panther Party Chairman Fred Hampton and LaKeith Stanfield as the Party's Security Chief and FBI informant Bill O'Neal.

I was not yet politically "woke" when the events depicted here took place, so I can't recall any knowledge different from what King shows us. But clearly, law enforcement worked way beyond the realm of legality to discredit and then kill those who confronted them, with the aid of insiders trusted by leadership. One must wonder: Has anything changed since then?

Good acting by Jesse Plemons as FBI supervisor Roy Mitchell and Dominique Fishback as Hampton's girlfriend Deborah Johnson. Listen for Martin Sheen as the voice of J. Edgar Hoover. The film is certainly deserving of its Best Picture nomination at the Academy Awards, as is Kaluuya of his Oscar, Golden Globe, and BAFTA wins as Best Supporting Actor. Just excellent.

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