Bill O’Neal (Lakeith Stanfield) infiltrates the Black Panthers per FBI Agent Mitchell (Jesse Plemons) and J. Edgar Hoover (Martin Sheen). As Black Panther Chairman Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya) ascends, falling for a fellow revolutionary en route, a battle wages for O’Neal’s soul.
JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH is a movie about a very dark moment in American history. It’s a complex story and told carefully in great detail in this movie. Bill O’Neal and Daniel Kaluuya put in riveting performances. The pace, however, is pretty slow, dialogue heavy, and makes the movie feel very long. But characters are developed well and the violence of the time is represented without gratuitousness. It’s an important story but I felt it became a bit plodding at times. The movie doesn’t seem to have the power and intensity it needs to make it as engaging as it should be. It does, however, illustrate how extensive and systematic racism can be in a society. The biggest shock came for me at the end when information was provided on screen about how young these men were. It would have been good if the story had been made more accessible to a new younger generation. Its themes are still very relevant to today.
(In cinemas – check your local movie guide.)