The systematic inequality has been ingrained in American society, tracing its history since time immemorial. The exclusion of communities prevalent in the United States has only made the racial disparity more prominent. Outlining one such movement dating back to 1968, the American biographical drama film JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH talks about the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party and the betrayal of its leader Fred Hamptons.
The storyline of Judas and the Black Messiah
Bill O’Neal, a 19-year old who from smuggling cars, went about smuggling information as an infiltrate among the party. The party which stood for egalitarianism raised its slogan against capitalism and racism.
Bill impersonates a federal officer to steal commodities that land him into the hands of FBI special agent Roy Mitchel, who bribes Bill of dropping the charges only if he agrees to work undercover.
Hamptons, a profound leader who used his orating skills to expand his alliance even with rival gangs and militia groups which laid the foundation stone for a multiracial rainbow coalition under his programme free breakfast for children by BPP. This alliance was perceived as a threat by the existing government.
Within the imprisonment term of Hampton, Bill rose through the ranks and got promoted to the position of security captain of the party. But with every step, he began questioning his choice to be an undercover agent, a dilemma which became more prominent with the shootout at the chapter office between the Chicago police and the BPP.
Hampton found his party and the office in ruins when he was released. The party had begun to fall apart like a house of cards after the death of Jimmy Palmer, allegedly killed by a police officer when he was unarmed. This encounter led the party to hit the streets to protest and revolt for the loss of their beloved member.
But one member- Jake Winters of the BPP, went out of the line to engage in an armed struggle and ended up murdering several police officers. Seeing these events, Hampton was sentenced again for imprisonment, but little did the audiences know that the FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover has something else up his sleeve. He planned the murder of Hampton by instructing Bill to drug Hampton against his own will.
With Hampton under sedation, the BPP apartment was raided with the subsequent assassination of all its members. When all seemed dead, it was Hampton’s pregnant wife who escaped the attack.
O’ Neil was bribed with a key to a gas station and loads of money for a secured future. But no one can escape their conscience for long, and the film ends in an interview with Bill dating back to 1989. He committed suicide on the same day. Moving forward in time to 12 years later, the FBI is charged with a lawsuit, and Hampton’s son Fred Hampton Jr. Is the chairman of the Black Panther Party Cubs.
Release date of Judas and the Black Messiah
The film was originally planned to be released on August 21, 2020, but got delayed to February 12, due to the pandemic. The film also premiered at the 2021 Sundance film festival. The distribution rights belong to Warner Bros. Pictures.
The film was also played for a period of a month in the popular streaming service HBO MAX and is now available for streaming over other platforms like Amazon Prime.
Ratings of the Judas and the Black Messiah
The movie runs for 2 hrs and 6 minutes. It has been rewarded with a generous response receiving 7.5/10 on the popular movie review website IMDb. The Tomatometer at rotten tomatoes Gives it a whopping 96% liking. The movie grossed $7 million at the box office. It was nominated for an Oscar and has received tons of praise and many awards.
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