“What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver.
Taken from the book of Matthew is the story of a man Judas. He stood as one of Jesus' original 12 disciples. Judas betrayed Jesus to the Sanhedrin in the Garden of Gethsemane. This canonical story parallels the journey of this film.
Our film set in 1969 tells the story of Bill O'Neal, our titular Judad, a petty criminal that was recruited by the Herbert Hoover FBI to infiltrate the Chicago chapter of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. Their target is the leader of this chapter and the Black Messiah mentioned in the film title, Fred Hampton. His ability to lead disadvantaged communities and challenge the racism of the law enforcement.
This film has amazing performances from both leads, Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Standfield. The power of Hampton was brought to the screen by Kaluuya. Every time he spoke the audience was transported to the streets of Chicago. His performance shows why he deserved his Golden Globe nomination. Stanfield personifies the desperation of O'Neal as he descends deeper and deeper into the FBI's hands. One cannot build sympathy for him though, as he continues to receive payouts even as he sees the good in the organization.
Behind the camera, we have Shaka King in his largest project to date. He is not a new director but familiar with the indie circuit and has been looking for the right project. He is close friends with Ryan Coogler from their early film days and has made impactful independent films. His first film Newlyweeds, is available for free on Tubi and comes highly recommended. This marijuana love store is a vibe that many can relate to. Expect to see more from King in the future.
If not for the dynamic performance of the two leads more people would be talking about Dominique Fishback. Many people are familiar with her from her performance in the Netflix film, Project Power opposite Jamie Foxx. Her eyes tell a story of emotion in every scene. She continues to be a star on the rise.
All of the supporting actors delivered on their performances. From Jesse Plemons as the FBI agent that always made it seem like he was doing O'Neal a favor to Martin Sheen as J. Edgar Hoover. Finally, there is another individual that we can expect to see on the big (and small) screen very soon. That is Dominique Thorne who portrayed Judy Harmon. She has recently been cast as RiRi Williams in the MCU.
This film is available both on HBOMax and in theaters. It will only be available on HBOMax for a limited time.
This is a much watch. This film pulls back the curtain of COINTELPRO and explains how the FBI used one man to damage the progress being made in the inner city of Chicago. With award-worthy performances from a stellar cast and emotional direction, this is a film everyone must watch.
- +Dynamic Acting
- -Predictable (Historical Fiction)
- -Wanted more time with the female characters