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  • Writer's pictureEllis Barthorpe

Judas and the Black Messiah ★★★★

Shaka King

Daniel Kaluuya, Lakeith Stanfield, Jesse Plemons, Dominique Fishback, Dominique Thorne

The title alone wins this film one of its stars. One of the most innovative film title choices in cinema history is just as innovative as the film's themes. Themes of racism, political oppression and police brutality that drive the script full steam ahead through powerful performances and stunning cinematography.

The film is mesmerising to look at; not only does it capture the style of the 60's, but it also puts harrowing moments of racial despotism at the forefront. Recent films, Mangrove and The Trial of the Chicago 7 both included Fred Hampton and the Black Panther party, but Judas shows him in a likeable, real light.

And that likability, for the most part, comes from Daniel Kaluuya; an actor who has been on top form in recent years, pulling out great performance after great performance and this is definitely no exception. His speeches here are outstanding and close-up shots tell all. He is truly one of the greatest actors of our generation, and he's only just getting started.

He is supported by an array of excellent talent; Lakeith Stanfield is beautifully anxious and Jesse Plemons makes it more difficult for an audience to hate him (he's too darn good). After Kaluuya though, the show stealing performances come from Dominique Fishback and Dominique Thorne who were used sparingly, but when they graced the screen they did so with real integrity and grit.

Shaka King pushes the films' messages of racism in society and the corruption of the system through incredible performances and excellent camera work. It's a beautifully traumatic tale that is somehow still relevant today.

Surreal, suave and sophisticated.

Judas and the Black Messiah available now on PVOD for £15.99

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