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Judas and the Black Messiah (DVD + Digital)
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- Parcel Dimensions : 19.1 x 13.7 x 1.2 cm; 77.11 Grams
- Canadian Home Video Rating : Ages 14 and over
- Director : Shaka King
- Media Format : NTSC
- Run time : 2 hours
- Release date : May 4 2021
- Actors : Daniel Kaluuya, Lakeith Stanfield, Jesse Plemons, Dominique Fishback, Ashton Sanders
- Subtitles: : French, Spanish
- Language : English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
- Studio : Warner Bros.
- Producers : Ryan Coogler, Sev Ohanian, Zinzi Coogler, Charles D. King, Kim Roth
- ASIN : B08ZW3TCCL
- Writers : Will Berson, Shaka King, Kenneth Lucas, Keith Lucas
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: #5,989 in Movies & TV Shows (See Top 100 in Movies & TV Shows)
- Customer Reviews:
FBI informant William O'Neal infiltrates the Illinois Black Panther Party and is tasked with keeping tabs on their charismatic leader, Chairman Fred Hampton. A career thief, O'Neal revels in the danger of manipulating both his comrades and his handler, Special Agent Roy Mitchell. Hampton's political prowess grows just as he's falling in love with fellow revolutionary Deborah Johnson. Meanwhile, a battle wages for O'Neal's soul. Will he align with the forces of good? Or subdue Hampton and The Panthers by any means, as FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover commands?
- Fred Hampton for the People
- Fred Hampton for the People
Top reviews from Canada
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like the X Files. the truth is out there. when your voice is more powerful than there skin color.
they call you savages. isn't that the truth. Judas and the Black Messiah” is a powerful movie. see it.
Top reviews from other countries
Over the years, there have been several excellent biopics of African-American campaigners and activists, together with films about their struggles: ‘Malcolm X’(1992); ‘Selma’(2014); ‘Mississippi Burning’(1988); ‘BlacKkKlansman’(2018). In addition, there have been a number of films recently, referring back to the days of slavery, like ‘Harriet’(2019), or showing the important strides made by Black luminaries, including ’Marshall’(2017); ‘Green Book’(2018) and ‘Hidden Figures’(2016). This film, made in Cleveland, Ohio in late 2019 and released early in 2021, is a worthy addition to the genre.
The film, planned for several years, and made with the consent of the main character’s family, provides a no-holds-barred picture of the final two years of charismatic Black activist Fred Hampton. Hampton was the chairman of the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party. Based in Chicago, he was a serious thorn in the flesh of the authorities, especially of the FBI and it’s ageing Director, J. Edgar Hoover. He was an unrepentant Marxist-Leninist, a revolutionary socialist unafraid to announce his politics to the world. But equally, he was popular and respected for his campaigning and provision of aid to the poor. And he was not afraid to reach across boundaries, looking to build alliances with anyone with whom he found himself able to make common cause. This included Chicago’s gangs, of all racial backgrounds.
This is a rich political brew for the United States, even today. In the late 1960s, Hampton’s activism spelt sedition and revolution to Hoover. The film follows the controversial and brutal plot by the FBI to infiltrate Hampton’s close circle, and to stop him and his campaigning. The title is particularly apposite, because Hampton worked tirelessly for the poor, particularly the black poor, of Illinois. And Bill O’Neal, the petty criminal suborned by the FBI to betray him, was indeed a Judas.
Daniel Kaluuya, whose towering performance as Hampton earned him a clean sweep of ‘Best Supporting Actor’ at the OSCARs, BAFTAs and Golden Globes, became just the latest British actor to deliver a magnificent and memorable portrayal of an American icon. Daniel Day-Lewis in ‘Lincoln’(2013); David Oyelowo as King in ‘Selma’ and Christian Bale as Dick Cheney in ‘Vice’(2018) ~ or as Batman ~ are just cases in point! Kaluuya is measured, driven, resolute in equal measure, in a superbly understated delivery. Californian LaKeith Stanfield, who played activist Jimmie Lee Jackson in ‘Selma’, is also outstanding as O’Neal, and was also OSCAR-nominated. The film was nominated for Best Picture.
This is not a comfortable watch. It is not meant to be. The title is too forthright to leave one under any misapprehension that this will be a film full of sweetness and light. And these were uncomfortable times in America, in American cities, for African-Americans both north and south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Sadly however, the film remains overwhelmingly topical today. 5 hugely relevant Stars.
Much has been ascribed to that program, and to J. Edgar Hoover, but little verified with any degree of certainty. Sure, there's much "certain" speculation, and attribution, by the Left.
But like the JFK assassination, there is an ongoing -- and growing -- cottage industry of "infotainment"; an example is the Jim Marrs "theory" that JFK was shot from four directions -- a totally bogus confabulation for the breathless "fans" of such trash. Not all that long ago, PBS ran a documentary of forensics experts at Boston University School of Medicine who evaluated the primary evidence -- including the falsely-alleged "missing" skull x-rays. Those x-rays, and the other evidence, were shown on camera, and showed that the Warren Commission was correct.
But who started all the "conspiracy" "theories"? Mark Lane, ostensibly Oswald's lawyer, by doing what lawyers do: pointing at anything and everything other than his client. If innocent, why did Oswald murder the cop -- which was witnessed?
I knew at least as much as anyone at the time what the Black Panthers were about. But who did they turn out to be? You had the weasel, under the "squeeze" of going to prison for crimes he committed. It was difficult to tell who was who, but street thugs and criminals -- hustlers -- were well represented. I still have Eldridge Cleaver's "Soul On Ice," bought and read around the time of publication. He told/wrote a convincing story about how he was framed for the killing of a cop. Then shortly before he died he admitted having killed the cop.
Kaluuya doesn't look much like Fred Hampton, and Hampton's "speeches," if those were actually used, were embarrassingly lacking in any substance beyond the slogan, "I am a revolutionary". So where was the attributed "charisma"?
The film is murky, most of it taking place in the dark, and the unclear dialogue leaves the listener in the dark. No joke: the only "illumination" was that, aside from a few "intellectuals," most of the Panthers, at least under Hampton, were street thugs, convicts -- hustlers. That doesn't mean J. Edgar Hoover, the F.B.I., and the cops were not racist -- they certainly were. But we are back to the original problem:
I was expecting a script based upon the existing official record -- which has always been sparse. What we "know" about COINTELPRO is more rumor and conjecture than fact, to the end that anything at all can be ascribed to it. It becomes yet another "Invisible Hand" "conspiracy" behind everything we do see. It is a stew of beliefs and convictions about, and attributions to, "COINTELPRO," and a romanticized image of the Black Panthers, that is tantamount to "religion": full of emotional fervor, and "faith," but not a lot of reliable information.
Disappointing; but it does show that there was much less to work with than the perpetuated "history" has promised.