Judas and the Black Messiah Poster

Judas and the Black Messiah (2021)

Biography | History 
Rayting:   7.6/10 34815 votes
Country: USA
Language: English

Bill O'Neal infiltrates the Black Panther Party per FBI Agent Mitchell and J. Edgar Hoover. As Party Chairman Fred Hampton ascends, falling for a fellow revolutionary en route, a battle wages for O'Neal's soul.

Movie Trailer

User Reviews

calvinc1203 9 March 2021

I haven't written a review in awhile, but felt compelled to do so because numerous reviews complaining about the movie as some sort of failed Fred Hampton biopic... The movie is titled JUDAS and the Black Messiah, in which we should all be able to discern who's whom, and understand why the movie isn't just about Fred Hampton, so all of you with your fake woke-ness can stop talking about how shallow this movie is or how they didn't do enough, and then counterintuitively discredit this accomplishment of a film about an important part of the U.S. history!

ronakkotian 13 March 2021

After seeing The Trial of the Chicago 7, I read about the people involved and came across Fred Hampton's story which really fascinated me. I believe Judas and the Black Messiah did it justice.

Judas and the Black Messiah follows Bill O'Neal, a man who becomes an FBI informant to gain inside information on the Deputy Chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party, Fred Hampton.

After watching the first trailer, I got goosebumps. Even after repeat viewings of the trailer, I still got goosebumps. No trailer has made me feel like that before and so I was anticipating this film for a long time. This film was unflinching in its portrayal of its events and I loved every bit of it. It may be a disappointment to some as Fred Hampton isn't in the film as much as you would think but I thought showing this story through the perspective of O'Neal was a great choice. Bill O'Neal was an interesting person who did make choices that were questionable and I liked the conflict that built over time between his allegiance to the FBI and the Black Panther Party. Lakeith Stanfield gives one of his best performances here as O'Neal. There are so many layers and nuances in his performance to give an idea of what his character is like. Despite knowing the story, I was still stunned by some of the things O'Neal does and somehow Stanfield still manages to make him somewhat sympathetic by the end.

The main attraction here is Daniel Kaluuya who is mesmerising as Fred Hampton. He pulls off the accent brilliantly and adds so much charisma and power to the dialogue by Will Berson and Shaka King. A particular scene where he's speaking to a large group of people is made so powerful by the energy and confidence Kaluuya brings to each word that comes out of his mouth. I couldn't believe this was the same man from Get Out. This is the biggest chance for him to win a Best Supporting Actor award and I hope he does. Jesse Plemons is also amazing here. I'm so happy his career is flourishing. Dominique Fishback is also fantastic and brings a level of emotion to the film.

For a second feature, this is really impressive from Shaka King. I see a great amount of confidence in his direction and writing and I'm hoping to see more of him in the future. There are a couple of shootout scenes and its depiction of violence was hard-hitting and held a substantial amount of weight to it. The score is very unusual but at the same time I liked the way it was used in the film.

All in all, Judas and the Black Messiah is a powerful film. It brings to a light an important time in history and educates us on someone that wasn't that well known. With striking performances from Kaluuya and Stanfield, this is a film that should be watched.

cliftonofun 14 February 2021

When I saw "The Trial of the Chicago 7" less than a year ago, I commented that there was likely a more interesting movie to be made about Fred Hampton. Well, here it is! This film avoids all the traps of traditional biopics. Its tight timeline and electric performances distinguished it from similar stories that wind up feeling like nothing more than historical dramatization. I knew how this movie would end. I knew the basic story of the main character. And yet I hung on every moment. Kaluuya is that good, and Stanfield is that good. More importantly, the filmmakers are smart enough to figure out that this could be a story of betrayal, advocacy, loyalty, and fear...something that transcended one person's story. What results is something both universal and uniquely relevant to the present day. This movie deserves whatever awards it wins.

jamdub-61934 15 March 2021

Daniel Kaluuya an utterly amazing performance! This brotha showed some acting chops here. A must see for Daniel alone, but the director deserves a nod too. The director and screenwriter deserve Oscars for that matter. The director took what could have been a PBS documentary and turned it into movie magic. Now let's tell the story of the Oakland chapter. Same director! The shootout on Magnolia. I was a child 1/2 a block down the street when the shots started flying everywhere and Bobby Hutton was killed.

tylertoth-71980 13 February 2021

I had no idea any of this actually happened, so it's great that a film was made about this. This is a powerful film that I will recommend to anyone.

kaljic 13 March 2021

Given the subject matter, this movie is an unflinching, unvarnished, uncompromising look into the life and revolutionary thought of Fred Hampton.

For those who are unfamiliar with Fred Hampton, during the time of the Chicago 7, in the late Sixties, Fred Hampton was the leader of the Black Panthers (not of course to be confused with the recent movie, Black Panther) of Chicago. Long before the term was fashionable, Hampton was able to forge what he called a rainbow coalition with other brown and white revolutionary groups, which no doubt hastened his death. In December 1969 he was shot dead while he sleeping by members of the Chicago Police and FBI. There is no historical disagreement that J. Edgar Hoover personally directed the assassination of Fred Hampton. None of the participants were prosecuted nor even questioned following his assassination.

The story is told through the eyes of the Judas, the traitor in the organization, Bill O'Neil, and his FBI handler. In life, O'Niel was Fred Hampton's closest associate, so you can see how deep the FBI was able to penetrate the organization. While there are moments when the movie digresses into Hollywood hokum, on the whole this movie is a sympathetic and accurate portrayal of the revolutionary thought of Fred Hampton. The focus of the film is Hampton's thoughts and dreams. By watching this film you will see the care with which that revolutionary thought was presented on the screen. It is both surprising and gratifying at the same time to see a major studio embark on this project and preserve Hampton's life, memory, and thoughts for a new generation.

airborne_trooper 13 February 2021

So let's start with the good. The cinematography and period setting is top notch and really puts you in the era. The acting is very good and helps with holding together a porous story.

Now for the bad. I really really wanted to love this movie. But...If you're looking for a biopic of Fred Hampton, this ain't it. Plain and simple. If you're looking for a movie that tells you more than you already knew about an understated important figure in black history, again this ain't it.

What you will get is a movie about an FBI informant who's motives are questionable at best, that happens to have Fred Hampton featured in it. If you're not versed in the names of people in Hampton's inner circle, you will be confused and have a hard time remembering who's who, as characters come and go constantly, with virtually no character development.

The movie is entertaining for the most part as the acting is quite good. But the story itself is all over the place and some scenes are longer than they need to be. You won't know much more about the great Fred Hampton, than you did before you watched this movie. It's too bad because I was waiting for this one.

People will trip over themselves to give this positive marks, but as a student of history and someone who loves a good drama in a period piece, this movie missed a great opportunity for sure.

severindringel 13 March 2021

The tragic story of former Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton has found a worthy recipient in director Shaka King. In his second feature film, Shaka tells the story of the rise of the young Hampton in Chicago in the late 1960s. The latter is unaware that a member of his own ranks is cooperating with the FBI to put a stop to him and the party.

Judas and the Black Messiah is marked by outstanding performances. Lakeith Stanfield acts as the "Judas" in the film, i.e. traitor William O'Neal, who is infiltrated into the Black Panther group as a mole by FBI employee Roy Mitchell (Jesse Plemons) after attempted car theft. The two share a very believable and atypical chemistry that almost makes you suspect a friendship of sorts. The real person behind William O'Neal even said years later that he admired Mitchell. Stanfield is the real protagonist of the film. Large parts are taken up by Daniel Kaluuya as Fred Hampton, the "Black Messiah" beloved by many but just as much opposed by many. Kaluuya is tailor-made for this role. He is electrifying, powerful and does not hold back in illustrating his emotions. It is above all Kaluuya's eyes that say a great deal about his character and illustrate the determination Fred Hampton displayed to assert his values. Especially during speeches he lets it all out and combines all kinds of emotional states: suffering, passion and anger towards the "Pigs" (racists). Dominique Fishback, as Hampton's partner and mother-to-be Deborah, takes up quite a bit of screen time and displays enormous poetry and passion in her few dialogues. She and Kaluuya also have terrific chemistry.

Judas and the Black Messiah is ultimately just a semi-biopic about one of the most significant black freedom fighters in American history. The focus is on O'Neal's betrayal and Hampton's relentless fight against racism and for equality. Besides the superb acting performances, the cinematography and King's atmospheric direction stand out as major strengths. If the film can be criticised for anything, it is that due to its lengthy structure it often fails to find a red thread and gets lost in arbitrary subplots a few times. These have relevance to the main plot, but take up several minutes of the running time. Without Stanfield's authentic acting, his character would lack a lot of humanity, because it is difficult to empathise with him despite him being the protagonist. The exact opposite is the case with Kaluuya, who absolutely dominates and captivates the film. From start to finish, he fills Hampton's big shoes brilliantly, honouring a historical figure who unfortunately flies far too much under the radar. Judas and the Black Messiah is an excellently realised film and communicates important and educational incidents.

cardsrock 16 March 2021

The two main acting performances really carry this film. Kaluuya and Stanfield both do tremendous work and make this film a compelling watch. It's a tough. depressing movie to watch, but it feels appropriately timed with its release. It's inevitable to compare this to another recent film containing some of the same characters, The Trial of the Chicago 7. While Chicago 7 is a more enjoyable watch and really zips along with energy, Judas is more unflinching in its reality and less "Hollywood." This isn't to say there aren't the typical story beats you expect in a film like this, but it overall feels more impactful.

fdeveaux11 13 February 2021

This film could have been much better. Instead of focusing on what made Fred Hampton such a powerful person - his politics, his words, his analysis - we are forced to sit through a bunch of cop-shoutouts and a fairly shallow version of an informant - FBI relationship story that we've seen done better in plenty of other movies.

As for the character of Bill Oneil, who unfortunately becomes the main character of the film, we have no insight into his ideology or his motivations, only that he wants money. The most interesting thing we learn about him is the real footage of the documentary that features at the end - which makes me wonder why I'm not watching a documentary instead. Throughout the film there's nothing about him that makes it believable that he'd be liked, trusted and even integrated as an important person in the Panthers and as a close friend of Fred Hampton's.

Overall, pretty lame

Movie Scene

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