Judas And The Black Messiah

Featured In Issue 255, May/June 2021

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Warner Bros Home Entertainment
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Violence and pervasive language
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Shaka King
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DTS HD Lossless 5.1
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In "Judas And The Messiah," FBI informant William O'Neal (Stanfield) infiltrates the Illinois Black Panther Party and is tasked with keeping tabs on their charismatic leader, Chairman Fred Hampton (Kaluuya). A career thief, O'Neal revels in the danger of manipulating both his comrades and his handler, Special Agent Roy Mitchell (Plemons). Hampton's political prowess grows just as he's falling in love with fellow revolutionary Deborah Johnson (Fishback). Meanwhile, a battle wages for O'Neal's soul. Will he align with the forces of good? Or subdue Hampton and The Panthers by any means, as FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover (Sheen) commands? (Gary Reber)

Special features include the featurettes "Fred Hampton For The People" (HD 09:19) and "Unexpected Betrayal" (HD 07:47) upfront previews and a Movies Anywhere digital code.

The 2.39:1 1080p AVC picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, upconverted to 2160p with greater resolution and luminance, was photographed digitally using Arri Alexa LF and Arri Alexa Mini LF camera systems and sourced from a 4K master Digital Intermediate format. While produced in 4K and shown on HBO Max in 4K with A Dolby Atmos soundtrack, there has been no 4K Ultra HD release on disc. The picture is stylized but very realistic with a solid, saturated color palette. Fleshtones appear accurate. Black levels are deep and intense. Other colors are often illuminated with intensely and effective spot lighting and highlights. Contrast is excellent with natural white levels. Resolution is excellent with fine facial detail exhibited in skin pores, hair and complexions. Clothing and object textures are finely resolved. This is a compelling documentary-styled visual experience that is realistic throughout. (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is effectively dynamic, though, dialogue is the focus. Dialogue is generally clear with good spatial integration, though, at times a bit muddled. Foley sound effects are precise and realistic. Mark Isham and Craig Harris' music is wonderfully creative. Atmospherics enhance the realism. Sound effects are used effectively to heighten dynamics and intensify the drama. Surround is aggressive during high-energy segments, as well as deep bass. In one segment in which a raid takes place there is tremendous gunfire that aggressively occupies the surround field. This is a compelling holosonic® soundtrack that delivers an emotional response. (Gary Reber)