In 1968 Chicago, Bill O’Neal stands outside Leon’s bar and notices a cherry red GTO. He goes inside, flashes an FBI badge, and starts body-searching the patrons. When he finds the keys inside a man’s pocket, Bill arrests the man for grand theft auto. Another man looks Bill in the eye and recognizes him. He knows Bill is a con-artist, not FBI. Bill grabs the keys, jumps in the car, locks the doors, and drives off as the patrons try to stop him. Later, the police catch Bill in the stolen car. They arrest Bill and put him in a room for questioning. FBI Special Agent Roy Mitchell tells Bill he will do 18 months for the robbery and five years for impersonating an FBI agent. Or he can pick another option. J. Edgar Hoover decided to change the focus of COINTELPRO. Instead of focusing on communists, he wants to focus on civil rights groups and their leaders. He considers these groups to be the most dangerous terrorist threat to the United States. Hoover wants the FBI to infiltrate the organizations and destroy them by any means necessary. Mitchell offers to drop Bill’s charges if he becomes an FBI informant to gather intel on Frederick Hampton. Fred is the chairman of the Black Panther Party of Chicago. Under constant threat of arrest, Bill is the lynchpin to one of the darkest days in FBI, Black Panther organization, and American history.
While the title seems extreme, the story of Bill and Fred mirror that of Judas and Jesus. Bill pretended to be a friend, traded information for money and died like Judas. No matter what Bill saw, good or bad, he turns it all into the FBI. Fred created an alliance with Chicago gangsters to stop the violence and grow their free breakfast program. Fred talks to poor whites and Puerto Ricans to help them see they had some same problems. Fred creates the first Rainbow Coalition. Before he could see his biggest accomplishment come to fruition, the police arrested Fred, and he served several months in prison. You will notice that when Bill is the focal point, the camera follows behind him. You will feel like you are on his back trying to warn him of things to come. When he is with others, the camera is always in front or on the side of him. This change in camera angle helps the viewer change perspective mentally and visually. The music, setting, makeup, technology, and clothing were in line with the period. In the beginning, you see Bill sitting down for the Eyes on the Prize 2 interview talking about how it all started (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer). At the movie’s conclusion, the interviewer asks Bill how he feels about everything he did and how he explains it to his son. His answer says one thing, but his actions do another. This movie and its dismal conclusion for everyone involved will stick with you. Not only will you watch again, but you will also start researching the names that history tries to forget.
I give it 5 out of 5 stars
#JudasAndTheBlackMessiah – Review Repost – In Stores Now
Badge is scarier than a gun – Bill
Oh, it shows. The lack of preparation, that is – Deborah
I’m all for civil rights, but you can’t cheat your way to equality. You certainly can’t shoot your way to it – Mitchell
America is on fire right now. And until that fire is extinguished, nothing else mean a goddamn thing – Fred
Categories: Algee Smith, Ashton Sanders, Daniel Kaluuya, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Dominique Fishback, Dominique Thorne, jesse plemons, Judas and the Black Messiah, Lakeith Stanfield, Lil Rel Howery, Martin Sheen, movie, Must Buy, review