• With Daniel Kaluuya, LaKeith Stanfield and even to a lesser degree here Jesse Plemons- Judas and the Black Messiah features three of the most talented male actors under the age of 35
  • It is based on a true story- set in the late 1960’s Chicago. Kaluuya gives a powerhouse performance as the Black Messiah, Black Panther Fred Hampton. The film is probably more of a achievement for him than his co-stars (or anyone else involved). Kaluuya can “sell salt to a slug” as Stanfield’s character says. Kaluuya’s charisma and gift for speech-making is apparent throughout. In particular, the “I Am a revolutionary” with the percussion music is a knockout scene of virtuoso acting. It is Denzel in Malcolm X, Pacino in And Justice For All, or Leo in Wolf of Wall Street. Kaluuya has a presence about him—even at 5’8 he has a knack for making it look like a taller actor standing right next to him actually has to look up at him
  • Stainfield is given the quieter role but excels as well- pain, guilt on his face
  • With the “rat” narrative (and it is a driving, forward-moving engaging story) you’ll think of The Departed (Martin Sheen here in the cast as well), and maybe a little Donnie Brasco.
  • At the 21-minute mark- the Leon’s bar sign on Stanfield’s face is a great shot
  • Undoubtedly the Craig Harris and Mark Isham score will be one of 2021’s standouts
  • The soft focus shot with Dominique Fishback face clear in the in close-up near the finale is a strong shot
  • Recommend but not likely to hold onto a top 10 slot for 2021