NOC Sundance Review: ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’

While the details of Judas Iscariot’s betrayal of Jesus Christ are debated, Judas goes down in history as one of the most infamous traitors — all over 30 pieces of silver. Maybe Judas didn’t like the fact that the people hailed Christ as a “Messiah” — a title the FBI used as code names for Black radical liberators in the 1960s to the late 1970s. One such “Messiah” is the young Black Panther activist and Chicago native Fred Hampton, mercilessly killed thanks to Black a panther Party (BPP) infiltrator and informant William O’Neal, FBI Agent Roy Mitchell, and J. Edgar Hoover.

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Give Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield Their Roses for ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’

With regard to director Shaka King’s masterpiece, the aforementioned sentiment goes double for Kaluuya’s fellow cast members Dominique Fishback, Ashton Sanders, Algee Smith, Dominique Thorne, and Jesse Plemons. Judas and the Black Messiah follows the life and times, and tragic end, of Fred Hampton (played by Kaluuya), the Black Panther Party Chairman of the Illinois chapter in the late 1960s. Most importantly, the film lays bare the attempts of the FBI to infiltrate and destabilize Hampton’s civil rights campaigns through the aid of petty criminal William O’Neal (LaKeith Stanfield) after applying enough pressure on O’Neal to force him into working as their informant.

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