'Judas and the Black Messiah': Sink or Stream?

Should you choose to let Fred Hampton's story of betrayal sink, or memorialize this devastating part of history by streaming it?

By Jesse Conner

Darrell Britt-Gibson, Daniel Kaluuya, and LaKeith Stanfield in "Judas and the Black Messiah."

© Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

Judas and the Black Messiah

Biography / 2021 / R

Offered a plea deal by the FBI, William O'Neal infiltrates the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party to gather intelligence on Chairman Fred Hampton.

The newest film that was just released in theaters and on HBO Max this morning, currently standing with a whopping 97% rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, is "Judas and the Black Messiah."

The biographical drama follows the life of Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya), chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, and the disloyalty that occurred due to the infiltration of his party by FBI informant William O'Neal (Lakeith Stanfield).

People may know how the story ends since it's a true story, but the film really takes the time to show what the Black Panther Party stood for, and highlights the brutality and abuse of power that occurred in a time of constant racial injustice.

Before you decide if it's worth a watch, here are our reasons why you should sink or stream it.

Reasons to Sink

© Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

  • This film is a serious story based on true events from our history where inhumane and unfathomable things happened, and the morals of various characters we're thrown to the wind, so it can be difficult or frustrating to watch at times.
  • As the film progresses, there are certain characters whose priorities and motives are constantly changing, which can make it slightly confusing during certain scenes to piece the story together as a whole.

Reasons to Stream

© Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

  • Daniel Kaluuya, LaKeith Stanfield, and Jesse Plemons are outstanding with their portrayals of these real-life characters, bringing audiences a 3-dimenisonal view of these people caught up in history.
  • This is a great example of taking a long series of events that led up to a historic tragedy, filled to the brim with politics, and turning it into an easily digestible, movie-length picture. It honors the memory of a person who dedicated his life to removing racial inequality.

Sink or Stream?

So, if you're wondering whether this story's worth the watch, it's definitely worth streaming.

It does an exemplary job of showing Fred Hampton's fight for equality and how the extreme corruption from within the system itself led to his despairing downfall.

Although the cast is incredible, Daniel Kaluuya is the supporting star who lights the way, and we won't be surprised if he wins an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

Finally, we tip our hats to LaKeith Stanfield for his complex, yet shady performance as we can never really pinpoint what side he's on, but he shows us what it looks like to be a person with close to no moral compass.

Watch it in theaters or Stream it on HBO Max

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