7/10 A powerfully acted historical drama, “Judas and the Black Messiah” has a lot of strengths going for it but gets caught up in some of the details with overly broad strokes. Back in the late 1960s and 1970s, there was a lot of corruption with the police and the FBI (the FBI has never not been corrupt and sleazy) as well as many domestic terrorists within the Black Panthers who hated white people and wanted to murder police. Some Black Panthers were evil racists and some just wanted equality for blacks. Similarly, some police officers were corrupt and evil racists and some were good men trying to protect the public and do their job. Both groups, like all groups in America and the world in general, were made up of both good and bad people. The biggest problem I had with this film was that it painted the police with a very broad brush of being 99% evil racists, which law enforcement has never been THAT corrupt or evil. It portrays 99% of law enforcement as evil and 99% of Black Panthers as good people who want equality. That just isn’t an accurate portrayal of this grey area. That along with the score which often took me out of the film and acted as more of a distraction were the two areas I found most lacking. Besides those issues, this is a good film. The story is a fascinating and heart breaking one, it does point out how corrupt the FBI was (always good to be reminded of this since it hasn’t changed), the acting is powerful and moving and even though the film is over two hours long, the pacing is excellent and you are enthralled for the entire duration. I do enjoy watching historical films so I can learn more about particular subject matter and this story of an FBI informant infiltrating the Black Panthers was very fascinating. We get glimpses at the black on black crime and hatred that is still to this day one of the biggest problems in the black community. So this film gets a lot right and from a film making standpoint is very well made. The recreation of the time period via production design, costume design, wardrobe, hair & make-up, etc. is phenomenal. The dialogue is so strong and I enjoyed that text was put onscreen at the end of the film to further educate the audience. I just wish writer/director Shaka King wouldn’t have inaccurately generalized both groups that this film focuses on and that the score wouldn’t have been so distracting. In the end however, this is still a good film worth seeking out for a historical lesson that is well made and brilliantly acted.

#FredEnd / #FredOnArrival / #QueenAndGrim / #BlackPanther2 / #SorryToBotherYourBlackPantherParty / #GetOutOfChicago

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