Judas And The Black Messiah (R, 126 minutes) reenacts the brief career and Chicago police assassination of the young militant leader of the Illinois Black Panther Party leader, Fred Hampton, in 1969.
The FBI had infiltrated the organization by using an informant, William O’Neal, who provided an exact map of Hampton’s apartment for use during a deadly raid. Purportedly, FBI head J. Edgar Hoover wanted Hampton eliminated as a threat to the overthrow of the U. S. government.
Hampton was a follower of Marx, Mao Zedong, and Ho Chi Minh. He espoused that “power comes from the barrel of a gun.”
The movie delves into the social upheaval of the 1960’s that divided the country and the abuse of force by law enforcement in combating problems of that time.
Be advised that Fred Hampton, Jr., who leads the modern Black Panther Party Cubs, was a consultant on the film. The closing credits list a slogan about joining the movement.
Cinematically, this film is worthy of high awards. The acting by Daniel Kaluuya as Hampton and LaKeith Stanfield as O’Neal is, indeed, noteworthy.
This provocative picture is a reminder of the issues that re-emerged in 2020 as part of the Black Lives Matter protests. This is an important movie, even if provocatively so.