Writer/director Shaka King looks like he’s created a powerful and award-winning portrayal of activism and betrayal in 1960s America with JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH.
JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH from writer/director Shaka King not only looks like a must-see movie but also a powerful piece of history that needed to be told. This story set towards the end of the 1960s in America, tells of the newly-elected chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party Fred Hampton (a brilliant Daniel Kaluuya) and one of his seemingly trusted lieutenants William O’Neal (the fantastic LaKeith Stanfield) who was actually an undercover FBI agent.
O’Neal was a thief turned FBI informant after his handler Special Agent Roy Mitchell (the amazing Jesse Plemons) gave him a choice whether to go to jail or become his stooge. So O’Neal’s mission is to infiltrate the Black Panther Party and find out what this revolutionary movement is planning. But O’Neal becomes fascinated by the power and the inspirational ethos behind the Black Panthers and particularly its charismatic leader Fred Hampton.
Apart from the stellar actors I’ve already mentioned in the film, writer/director King also has the very talented Dominique Fishback – recently seen in Netflix’s sci-fi actioner Project Power alongside Jamie Foxx – as a fellow Black Panther member Deborah Johnson, and the legendary Martin Sheen playing the terrifying FBI boss J. Edgar Hoover. Both are keys elements in the movie as Johnson falls in love with Fred Hampton and Hoover instructs his agents to neutralise the potential Black Panther threat by any means necessary.
I loved the first trailer of the movie when I saw it 6 months ago but now having seen this second, superbly-tense and exciting trailer, it’s time to shout about JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH.
“Anywhere there is people, there is power.”