Posts Tagged J. Edgar Hoover

Film Review: Judas and the Black Messiah (2021)

“I’d rather be a free man in my grave, than living as a puppet or a slave” – Jimmy Cliff – The Harder They Come

“Judas and the Black Messiah” is a historical drama film directed by Shaka King, released in 2021. The movie is based on the true story of Fred Hampton, the charismatic and revolutionary chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party in the late 1960s. The film explores the events leading up to Hampton’s assassination by the FBI and the Chicago Police Department.

Daniel Kaluuya stars as Fred Hampton, who is depicted as a visionary leader who fights for the rights of black people in America. He inspires and unites the community, organizing various social programs and raising awareness about the inequalities faced by black Americans. However, the FBI, under the direction of J. Edgar Hoover, sees Hampton as a threat and starts a covert operation to neutralize him.

The US establishment saw the Black Panthers as a threat due to their revolutionary rhetoric and the fact that they were armed. The tactics used by the police to neutralize the Panthers were often shocking. In the film the FBI allowed one informant who had been involved in a murder to go on the run and visit various Panther offices as an excuse to raid them. They even went so far as to drug Panther leader Fred Hampton and plot and carry out the killings of Panther members with the help of informants. One reason the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover were frightened of Hampton was because he had the ability to reach out to poor whites as well as blacks with a message that transcended cultural and ethnic divides. Hampton was a charismatic leader and a powerful speaker, which made him a formidable opponent in the eyes of Hoover and the FBI.

The film also features LaKeith Stanfield as William O’Neal, a petty criminal who is coerced into infiltrating the Black Panther Party by the FBI. O’Neal is tasked with gathering information on Hampton and reporting back to the FBI. He ultimately becomes embroiled in the events leading to Hampton’s death and must confront the consequences of his actions.

“Judas and the Black Messiah” is a powerful and thought-provoking film that sheds light on a critical chapter in American history. It highlights the government’s brutal tactics in suppressing the Black Power Movement and the fight for racial justice. The film is a tribute to Fred Hampton, who continues to inspire and influence future generations, and serves as a reminder of the ongoing struggle for equality and justice. In contrast William O’Neal ultimately met a sad end, consumed with guilt his actions brought him only a legacy of infamy going down on the wrong side of history as a traitor and a puppet.

Reviewed by Pat Harrington

Judas and the Black Messiah
2h 6m
Shaka King
Will Berson (story by )Shaka King(story by) Kenneth Lucas(story by)
LaKeith Stanfield Daniel Kaluuya Jesse Plemons

Image attribution: By IMP Awards, Fair use,


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