By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
“Judas & The Black Messiah,”
from director Shaka King
(TV’s “Shrill”) and co-producer Ryan Coogler
(“Black Panther”) is a remarkable movie that shines the spotlight on the 1960s Chicago Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton who is played superbly by Daniel Kaluuya
(“Queen & Slim” and “Get Out”).
Kaluuya has garnered “Best Supporting Actor” nominations from the Critics Choice Awards, The Golden Globes, and the Screen Actors Guild.
The movie’s inspiring song, “Fight for You” which was written and produced by Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter, “H.E.R. and producers Tiara Thomas and Dernst "D’Mile" Emile II also received a Golden Globe nomination for “Best Original Song.” REEL MOVIE NEWS
In addition, “Judas & The Black Messiah” was named one of the top ten films of the year from the American Film Institute (AFI).
It also landed on N2Entertainment.net’s
list of the Top 20 Movies of 2020.
Honestly, this film is stacked with outstanding talent. Even the supporting performances are noteworthy from Algee Smith (“Detroit” and “The Hate U Give”) and Darrell Britt-Gibson (“Silk Road”), to Ashton Sanders (“Moonlight” and “The Equalizer 2”) and Lil Rel Howery (“Tom and Jerry”).
“Judas & The Black Messiah” chronicles the friendship between Hampton (Kaluuya) and his driver/security detail, William O’Neal (a terrific LaKeith Stanfield, “The Photograph, “Get Out” and the upcoming “The Harder They Fall”).
The Black Panther Party movement is growing and Hampton’s ability to mobilize African Americans throughout Chicago is a major concern for the F.B I. and its leader J. Edgar Hoover (a barely recognizable Martin Sheen, TV’s “Grace and Frankie”) who believes blacks will rise up and threaten their status quo.
Can’t have that, so someone needs to keep a close eye on the Black Panther’s activities.
Enter O’Neal, who for a fistful of dollars sold his soul and agrees to be a snitch/informant for F.B.I agent Roy Mitchell (a fabulous Jesse Plemons, TV’s “Hank the Cowdog”) and infiltrate the Panthers.
O’Neal loves the thrill and power he wields now that he can get deeper within the organization and those closest to Hampton including the leader’s love interest Deborah Johnson (an excellent Dominique Fishback, TV’s “Project Power”).
When things begin to get really real, O’Neal soon discovers he’s in so deep that he can’t get out and is forced to help orchestrate an F.B.I. directed pre-dawn raid by the Chicago Police Department which led to the assassination of Hampton at his apartment.
When I first heard that Kaluuya was portraying Fred Hampton in “Judas & The Black Messiah” I was a bit surprised by the choice. However, after repeated viewings this movie, I really can’t imagine anyone else inhabiting this role as convincingly as Kaluuya. “Judas & The Black Messiah” is sensational.
Be sure to catch my N2Entertainment.net movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays at 6:20 p.m. on radio station KFBK 93.1 FM and 1530 AM.
Watch This Trailer For "JUDAS & THE BLACK MESSIAH"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), The Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC), The American Film Institute (AFI), and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.