REview: Judas And The Black Messiah (2021) | The Past Never Stays Buried For Long

Chaka King’s Judas And The Black Messiah is the type of movie that I tend to avoid (because relatively early on I realized that I believed that what I was seeing wasn’t truth, but an interpretation of truth.

In other words, an untruth (to call such depictions a “lie” is in most instances too mean-spirited and deliberate).

And that’s a problem because I get the feeling that way too many people think that because they’ve seen a movie based upon whichever historical figure that they somehow know what that particular figure was all about.

And that’s dangerous (though that shouldn’t be interpreted as saying that one should believe everything you read, because there’s a lot of garbage no matter the medium you happen to be exploring).

The earliest example I can find of stumbling upon this tendency was Alan Parker’s Midnight Express (to this day it’s one of my favorite movies because the performances are all so earnest and Brad Davis is just beautiful and interesting to watch) because while it may be based on the story of Billy Hayes, in a lot of ways this isn’t his story (Oliver Stone, who was the screenwriter, later apologized for his depiction of Turkish prisons).

And since the movie literally revolves around a man in prison, the depiction of that place isn’t a small thing.

Though what bothered me most about Judas And The Black Messiah is that you know where the story was going (I was somewhat familiar with Fred Hampton before seeing the movie) though with even a cursory knowledge of the history of the period it’s not a reach to say that his story does not end well for Hampton and many of the people involved.

And that’s not a fate that’s unknown to anyone that tries to change the world for the better.

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