judas and the black messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah – Movie Review and Analysis

Judas and the black Messiah is a touching and informative movie. Although it tells a bit of Fred Hampton’s story, this film focuses on the life of William “Bill” O’Neal, the man who betrayed Fred.

Therefore, don’t expect a perfect reproduction of Fred’s life, but a lot of information about his political belief and vision of the world. And, in my opinion, you should watch it and carefully listen.

Judas and the Black Messiah – The Story

Fred Hampton, the leader of the Black Panthers movement, is the primary concern of the FBI. He represents a more significant threat than the Russian or the Chinese. The reason is simple and incredible, Fred has the power to unite people, different movements and the left wings with socialism.

The biggest fear for the American government, which prepared a detailed plan to arrive to the Black Messiah and kill him. The FBI needs to penetrate the movement to get closer to him and use Bill O’Neal and the old Trojan horse technique to accomplish their plan.

bill and the fbi
Bill and the FBI

Bill is a not profitable thief, and when he gets caught by the FBI for his crimes, they offer him the possibility to avoid prison and make some money. Dirty money, which not always comes from criminals but sometimes also from the police.

The movie tells about the struggles O’Neal have to face, living inside the Black Panthers party, close to Fred and the FBI.

  • What will be the outcome?
  • How will Bill change?
  • And what we will learn from this film?

Judas and the Black Messiah – Analysis and Insights

The film inspires and provides emotions. The performance delivered both by Daniel Kaluuya (Fred Hampton), and LaKeith Stanfield (Bill O’Neal) is incredible. Trust us, and let us explain why.

1. Oscars and Bafta Winners

Judas and the Black Messiah won two Oscars, and it got three nominations. It won as:

  • “Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role” award to Daniel Kaluuya.
  • “Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song)”. H.E.R. Fight for you.

The film also won a Bafta for the “Best Supporting Actor”, again to Daniel Kaluuya. Also, it got three nominations. We believe this is an excellent reason to watch the movie.

2. Hampton’s Message?

  • What are the reasons why the FBI wanted Fred death?
  • What was the scary message?

Hampton was talking about beautiful ideas, about things that should be normal in any developed country:

  • Free medical clinic
  • Costless breakfast for children
  • Free legal aid
  • Free education for the community
  • House, justice and peace

Those are concepts so noble that they are, in the “Declaration of Independence.” Therefore, they should be our rights; we must have the possibility to use these services.

But the government removes those rights from our lives, and we have to pay to access our rights.
Whoever talks about those normal things becomes a socialist, and this word is not welcome in a capitalist world.

fred hampton teaching
Fred Hampton teaching life

I used the present because those themes are still actual.

Nothing changed during the time. Watching the movie, we can feel that who should protect our rights, guarantee the law, instead betray their country, the legislation, their people.

When the government must kill to keep their power, this is not anymore a legit authority, and, regrettably, today, nothing seems changed. Justice is something different from all of that.

3. Violence is the answer

After what we mentioned above, there is no justification for how the FBI handled the case. But violence is not the exclusive tool of the police. The director is brilliant in informing us that the other side of the coin acted brutally too.

There are no good ones or bad ones; when political principles escalate in violence, there are no logical answers to the questions. Or, perhaps, no one wants to hear those.

Judas and the Black Messiah -  police in action
Police in action

In the blitz done by the FBI to kill Fred, the police shot 99 times. The Panthers just once. No one from the FBI faced legal consequences, while survivors of the Black Panthers, yes. One single shot cost them an accusation for murder attempt. We can’t call it justice; these are actions that no civilized country can allow.

4. The best quotes to remember

“Politic is war without bloodshed, while war is politics with bloodshed. The real weapon is people, you need to convince them”.

Fred Hampton

“Reform is just the masters teaching the slaves how to be better slaves. You can murder a revolutionary, but you can’t murder a revolution.”

Fred Hampton

“Those are not riots. Those are rebellions. People are rebelling because of their conditions, not because of individuals.”

5 – Bill O’Neal, the damned Judas

Bill didn’t have an easy situation to sort it out. The FBI controlled his life; any mistake could cost him his freedom or, perhaps, life. To survive, he needed to become even worse than before, like the officers working with him. It isn’t easy to judge him. Try to put yourself in his situation. How would you act?

He learned a lot from Fred; we can see that he struggled at a certain point because almost everyone has a soul in this world. He knew that he wasn’t the best version of himself.

After Fred’s death, Bill continued to work for the FBI, working as a member of the Black Panthers for many years. And at the same time, he was still cooperating with the FBI. As a result, he earned the equivalent of $200,000.

There is a sentence that says: “Making mistakes is human, but persevering is diabolical.” Bill was wicked; he continued to live lying, but we still don’t know if it was for the easy money or the fear of punishments by the FBI.

Judas and the Black Messiah - Bill moment
The “Kill Bill” moment

What we know is that in 1989 he gave an interview which went on tv in 1990. One question had the power, most probably, to change his thinking. “What would you tell your son about what you did?” Bill seems to believe that he didn’t betray anyone because he wasn’t part of the Black Panthers. He thought that through the work done with the FBI, he became a better person.

We will never know the truth, but the day after the interview was released, he committed suicide.
We can’t judge, we never should do that, but his character will always suffer and be damned. Hopefully, he found his peace later.

Judas and the Black Messiah delivers a lot of messages, controversial characters and undefiened character’s evolutions. It’s a good movie.

Our final rating is

Where you can watch Judas and the Black Messiah

The movie is currently available on HBO Max, but check this link to see where you can watch it in your country.

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