Some stories are so unbelievable that you just couldn't make them up. That's definitely the case with Judas and the Black Messiah, a film about a horrible series of events that sadly didn't happen as long ago as you think. This is a movie of a story not often told and amongst the most powerful out there.
When we think of the US Civil Rights movement, the first names that often come to mind are the heroics of Martin Luther King Jr and Rosa Parks, not Illinois Black Panthers Chairman Fred Hampton. With 97% on Rotten Tomatoes and such important subject matter, it's helpful that Netflix is adding the movie to its platform on the 20th of September.
Daniel Kaluuya won an Oscar and Lakeith Stanfield was nominated for their portrayals of Fred Hampton and the man who was coerced by the FBI to destroy him from within.
Despite only living to 21 years of age, Fred Hampton was an activist with big dreams and a vision of racial and social equality. A compelling speaker (as demonstrated by Kaluuya) he founded the multi-racial Rainbow Coalition that worked with Chicago's street gangs to bring about social change and combat the corrupt Chicago police. As with other members of the Black Panther Party, however, he was marked as a radical extremist threat by the FBI.
One of the most interesting elements of the movie (and the real story) is that we never really know which side William O'Neal is on. He's clearly taken by some of Hampton's rhetoric but at the same time is not that reluctant to inform the FBI of his actions for money.
This is a historic movie in its own right too. Quite remarkably, this 2021 film was the first ever Best Picture nominee to have an all-black team of producers. Even if it wasn't true, this is a brilliantly crafted movie overflowing with drama and tension and is pretty much unmissable.