Assiduously directed, compositionally sound, and intimidating as hell, Judas and the Black Messiah almost articulates like a reverse BlacKkKlansman, setting the true-story straight regarding a young black man who’s used by the FBI to go undercover as a member of the Black Panther Party, and ultimately sabotage its chairman Fred Hampton and his revolution. What Shaka King has done here is quite formidable, stressing the guilt of a man who put his livelihood over everything else, and the agencies of vice (this notoriously fowl FBI organization) that pressured him into this greed. The story of how manipulation diminished the basic human rights of an army of activists and bystanders, warrants this film as a must-watch alone, so HBO Max users, don’t waste this opportunity to grasp essential historical knowledge.
At any rate, you gotta at least respect a director who’ll use the minimalist approach of sneaking in long-takes whenever possible — those were clean!
“Judas and the Black Messiah” is now available to stream on HBO Max and to watch in select theaters.