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Blu-ray Review: Judas and the Black Messiah

May 4, 2021

By John Corrado

This is a review of the Blu-ray release. For my full thoughts on the film itself, including my star rating, please read my original review right here.

After previously being released both in theatres and on Premium Video On Demand, the Oscar-winning drama Judas and the Black Messiah is being given a physical release on Blu-ray this week.

The film, which is confidently directed by young filmmaker Shaka King, dramatizes the story of Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya), Deputy Chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party, and the betrayal that he faced at the hands of FBI informant William O’Neal (LaKeith Stanfield).

The main draws of Judas and the Black Messiah are the brilliant performances from its co-leads. Kaluuya just took home the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his electrifying portrayal of Hampton, and Stanfield receiving a nomination in the same category for his performance as O’Neal.

The film was nominated for a total of six Oscars, Best Picture among them, and it won two, including Best Original Song for H.E.R.’s end credits tune “Fight For You.” I do think the script has a few character development problems, but Judas and the Black Messiah is still a well crafted film on a technical level, and it gets by on the strength of its central performances. Kaluuya and Stanfield make it frequently gripping to watch, and the Blu-ray is worth picking up for those who want a physical copy.

Bonus Features (Blu-ray):

The Blu-ray comes with a pair of featurettes. A code for a digital copy is also included in the package.

Fred Hampton for the People (9 minutes, 19 seconds): This informative piece features the cast and crew discussing the legacy of the real life Hampton, and how the themes of the film connect to what is happening today in regards to police brutality.

Unexpected Betrayal (7 minutes, 47 seconds): This featurette looks at the real life William O’Neal, and the toll that it took on Stanfield, a long time admirer of Hampton’s, to play him.

Judas and the Black Messiah is a Warner Bros. Home Entertainment release. It’s 126 minutes and rated 14A.

Street Date: May 4th, 2021

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