Judas and the Black Messiah: Daniel Kuluuya Continues to Impress
By Antonio Luevanos
Judas and the Black Messiah (2021) is the latest blockbuster hit in theaters, written and directed by Shaka King, the film stars Daniel Kuluuya, Lakeith Stanfield, Jesse Plemmons, and Martin Sheen.
The best way to describe this film is impressive. Every single performance, every line of dialogue is stunning. The script allows the actors to take each line to another level. Daniel Kuluuya has proved time and time again that he is full of talent, with films like Get Out (2017) and Queen and Slim (2019), Judas and the Black Messiah is no different. His performance is explosive and filled with life and passion. Lakeith Stanfield is also phenomenal, maybe even more so, as his character is a lot more understated and above all more complex. Overall, the ensemble cast brings the film to life and the casting was brilliant.
Each character and plot point is very deliberate and carefully written and executed. The film is subtle and yet speaks volumes. The writing is exceptional and uses its time carefully.
The cinematography, musical score and editing allow the film to have a sleek, confident and alluring design and overall polish to it.
The problems lie in the pacing. The runtime is only 125 minutes, but it does feel like it goes a lot longer than that. Again, however, I feel it uses it’s time wisely, but overall the compelling factors fall a little flat and some people will be bored with the film. Additionally, at certain points, certain ideas or characters are changed or written off very abruptly. The ending is also abrupt, but it benefits the film more than it hurts it.
All in all, Shaka King has blown me away. The design and polish combined with the powerful themes and moving performances, Judas and the Black Messiah proves to be an important and impressive piece that will likely stand the test of time really well. I would definitely recommend this film to everyone.