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.