Judas and the Black Messiah, a biopic on Fred Hampton, has opened to glowing critical reception. The film has Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya playing the lead role. Hampton was the chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party who was betrayed by William O’Neal, played by Lakeith Stanfield, an FBI informant.
Shaka King has directed the film that premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.
Here are what the critics are saying about the film:
LA Weekly’s Asher Luberto wrote, “(Kaluuya) nails the activist’s voice and cadence, especially in his speeches, where he blends preaching, persuading and poetry to shake the pews and bring the audience to their feet in righteous anger.”
ABC News’ Peter Travers wrote, “Shaka King’s powerhouse about the 1969 murder of Black Panther chairman Fred Hampton (an Oscar-worthy Daniel Kaluuya) by Chicago police with the help of an FBI informer (Lakeith Stanfield) is a new movie classic that speaks to its time and ours.”
The Ringer’s Adam Nayman wrote, “Shaka King’s film about the pursuit and assassination of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton is at once an intimate character study and a propulsive commentary.”
Wall Street Journal’s Joe Morgenstern wrote, “A powerful, and candidly sympathetic, political biography with contemporary relevance, and a morality tale set forth as an exciting action adventure.”
Judas and the Black Messiah began streaming on HBO Max in the US on February 12.