Friday, February 12, 2021

Judas and the Black Messiah - 3 1/2 Stars - HBO MAX - February 12, 2021

Judas and the Black Messiah shines a light on the story of Fred Hampton, Chairman of the Black Panther Party in late 1960's Chicago.  An unrecognizable Martin Sheen as FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, plants a mole in Hampton's organization, intent on undermining the natural born leader.  The FBI forces small time criminal William O'Neal (LaKeith Stanfield) to betray Hampton.  Daniel Kaluuya makes a convincing Fred Hampton in scenes displaying his ability to sway a crowd.  The portrait of Hampton completes with a touching portrait of his life partner Debra Johnson (Dominique Fishback.)  Judas and the Black Messiah  plays as a noir thriller, with O'Neill betraying  Hampton even as he comes to embrace Hampton's work,  addressing hunger, education, and police harassment.  The conclusion roars to a shocking gut punch.