Direction: Shaka King Cast: Daniel Kaluuya, LaKeith Stanfield, Jesse Plemons, Martin Sheen Country: USA, Germany Year: 2021 Release date: 3-26-2021 Genre: Drama Script: Shaka King, Will Berson Photography: Sean Bobbitt Synopsis: FBI informant William O’Neal infiltrates the Black Panther Party of Illinois to keep an eye on its charismatic leader, President Fred Hampton. O’Neal is a professional thief and enjoys the danger of manipulating his comrades and his guardian, Special Agent Roy Mitchell. Hampton’s political prowess grows as he falls in love with fellow revolutionary Deborah Johnson. Meanwhile, a battle rages in O’Neal’s heart. Will he align himself with the forces of good? Or will he subdue Hampton and the Panthers by any means, as ordered by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover?
For those who need to summarize a complex and sadly current fact.
Telling the story of a charismatic leader, even from the point of view of the rat who helped dirty his legacy, requires a figure who emulates a magnetism that is supposed to be innate. The filmmaker Shaka King has found in Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield the perfect vehicles to explain the success of the legacy of Fred Hampton, the young president of the Black Panther Party in Illinois, and the foul play of a system that, in every movement, gives the reason to those who try to unmask him.
Judas and the Black Messiah explains the idiosyncrasy of a complex revolution through those primarily responsible for its rise and fall. Its historical ambition contrasts with a functional artistic section that, supported by its fierce performers, surrenders before comparing itself to filmmakers determined to adorn its narrative. This, together with King’s conviction when it comes to cleaning a name thoroughly moldy by his murderers, makes us wonder if, this time, we would have needed to expand the story based on weekly episodes with which to enjoy more of Kaluuya and Stanfield.