Judas And The Black Messiah

How is it there’s no thread for what could be the best film of 2021?

Fred Hampton was many things - community activist, brilliant orator, and Vice-Chairman of the Illinois Black Panthers. He wasn’t so much concerned with Black identity politics as he was economic disparity, and reached out to Latino street gangs and even poor White communities, establishing food and clothing programs that served hundreds if not thousands of the poorest kids in Chicago. All this before he was 21. In 1969 he was murdered in a “raid” of Panther HQ by the Chicago police, spurred on by the FBI. A subsequent investigation showed that the police fired 99 times during the “battle”. The Panthers fired once.

“Judas” is ostensibly the story of Bill O’Neal, the FBI informant who served as Hampton’s head of security and helped set him up. But it’s really Hampton’s story, and
Daniel Keluuya as Hampton steals every scene he is in.

The more things change…

Available on HBO Max and in theaters (I think)

Thanks, I forgot this was coming out. O’Neal sounds like a real piece of shit.

I haven’t seen it yet, but will the next time I get HBO Max. Meanwhile, there’s also a podcast that talks with many of the actors, producers, and the family. Produced by the 99% Invisible folks.

He’s portrayed as very conflicted, and in fact he later committed suicide

It may or not be on there at the time. Warner are doing time limited runs of their new movies as if it was in theaters before moving to conventional VOD rental/bluray-dvd release. It will eventually show back up on HBO Max after the rental period on other platforms closes.

Maybe. That part is disputed according to wikipedia. He didn’t hang or shoot himself, he ran into traffic and may have been drunk, and by his own admission felt no allegiance to the Panthers. All that “conflicted” stuff sounds like an attempt by relatives to rehabilitate his image to me, as well as, of course, to add dramatic tension to a film.

Fair enough. I didn’t research it, I just went by the epilogue to the movie. Although Wiki also says this:

“Earlier in the evening, O’Neal had been drinking and attempted to jump out a second story window, but was pulled back inside. O’Neal’s uncle Ben Heard said that O’Neal had “cooperated with the FBI to reduce his own potential jail time, then got in way over his head and was forever tortured by the guilt””

This looks good. Hampton sounds like a tragic figure and, ungh, that’s just an impossible situation for O’Neal.

Sure, but it’s not terribly redemptive to be a snitch vs. a snitch with a guilty conscience, so I would lean toward believing them. I can easily see how he would feel guilt. In fact, I would be more surprised if he didn’t feel any guilt.

Reminder to myself: This movie’s month on HBO Max is almost up. Only two more days I believe. So if I don’t want to miss it, I’d better watch it today.

and you don’t.

Just a quick correction - it was Hampton’s own home, not Panther HQ.

It’s a fantastic movie and although I hadn’t heard about any of this before the movie, Hampton was clearly a tremendous loss to the world.

That’s the answer to your question. Neither of those things exist in my country right now. It’s in my rental queue though.

I loved it. A great movie, about two characters that I’d never heard about.

Hampton is a leftist hero. Black messiah, indeed.

Haven’t seen this yet, but when watching The trial of the Chicago 7, either I had forgotten, or hadn’t known that his “death” was in Chicago, during the trial.

I liked that the movie didn’t shy away from showing the killings done by Black Panther members in this movie. And how brutal that was. It also showed the brutality of the Police, and the FBI. And racism of Hoover.

I think if this story was made in prior decades, especially the anti-crime 90s and earlier, this story would be mainly about the killers who were the Black Panthers, and how the law had to be bent to take them off the streets to make the citizens safe.

I think in the Black Lives Matters era, it’s a lot easier to tell a tale like this, where Police are killed by armed Black people, and yet they’re not framed as the bad guys.

There was definitely a war going on. Of course, often the Panthers claimed “self defense”.

I saw this thread had been bumped, and I just assumed that it was based on the Oscar news that both Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield had been nominated…in the Best Supporting Actor category. Seems like an odd choice for the two leads of the movie.

That is a strange choice. How does billing work in movies? Isn’t someone designated as the leading man and someone else as the supporting actor? Hard to imagine there no rules for this sort of thing. I am not being ironic. I truly don’t know how it works and I’m curious.

It feels a little crass saying this, but one of the stars of the movie for me is the car. Not only did the movie do a fantastic job of being a period piece, and a fantastic job setting most of the movie at night with really excellent night time cinematography, the movie’s script and sound editing were also really grounded in that car. The Judas in this movie needs that car to get close to Hampton.

A lot of the movie then takes place in that car. And that low deep purrrrrr and growl of that engine forms the soundscape of so many of the scenes in the movie.

I wonder where they get that kind of pristine car from in the 2020s. I’m sure there’s people that specialize in maintaining them and keeping them in top shape. I kind of wish they still made cars like this.