Judas & The Black Messiah


D: Shaka King

Warner Bros / Macro / Participant / Bron Creative / Proximity (Charles D. King, Ryan Coogler & Shaka King)

US 🇺🇸 2020 (released 2021)

126 mins


W: Will Berson & Shaka King

DP: Sean Bobbitt

Ed: Kristan Sprague

Mus: Mark Isham & Craig Harris

Daniel Kaluuya (Fred Hampton), Lakeith Stansfield (Bill O’Neal), Jesse Plemons (Roy Mitchell), Dominique Fishbank (Deborah Johnson), Ashton Sanders (Jimmy Palmer), Algee Smith (Jake Winters)

A film without a lead actor, according to the 2021 Oscars, which nominated both the main stars for Best Supporting Actor, a category that was won by Daniel Kaluuya, who I consider the lead of this biopic.

Kaluuya plays Fred Hampton, the chairman of the Chicago faction of the Black Panthers political organisation, who fought for civil rights matters and justice for African-Americans from the late 1960’s onwards.

Considered a terrorist group by the FBI, Bill O’Neal, a car thief who impersonated an agent to scam his victim, is arrested and cut a deal to infiltrate the Black Panther group, getting close to Hampton and feeding information back to the feds.

The subject matter had been in development for some time before its production in 2020, a year when racial tension was at a peak due to the BLM movement.

The film does take some liberties with fact and doesn’t really get beneath the skin of its two principal characters as much as I personally would have liked, but it makes for a solid film nevertheless.

Certainly a deserved Best Picture nominee at the 2021 Academy Awards.


Daniel Kaluuya in Judas & The Black Messiah
Daniel Kaluuya in Judas & The Black Messiah