Judas and the Black Messiah (2021)

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The story of Fred Hampton, deputy chairman of the national Black Panther Party, who was assassinated in 1969 by a Cook County tactical unit on the orders of the FBI and Chicago Police Department. (Letterboxd)
In the way it captures the injustice, high stakes, and high-running emotions of the revolution it triumphs, and loudly–the music, the sounds, the turns all scream for your attention (see especially Hampton’s welcome home speech). As a whole it feels a bit scattered though, with biopic-obligatory-feeling side plots (see Jake’s revenge), teased but discarded character dynamics (see Roy’s discomfort with Hoover), and a titular relationship that doesn’t quite live up to its dramatic potential.
7.5/10 (Really Good)

Come Sunday (2018)

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Evangelist Carlton Pearson is ostracized by his church for preaching that there is no Hell. (IMDb)
The Christian jargon often comes off as a little wooden; maybe it’s because a lot of it feels like it would’ve had to be indoctrinated (Carl’s reasoning at the heresy trial spoke well to this), but the more progressive theology is a bit ham-fisted too. Ejiofor is excellent though, as an imperfect man wrestling with tradition, conviction, and consequences, and along with beautiful cinematography and a solid score this makes for a number of powerful scenes that overshadow most kinks in the script.
7/10 (Good)

 

The Departed (2006)

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An undercover cop and a mole in the police attempt to identify each other while infiltrating an Irish gang in South Boston. (IMDb)

The double-deception plot is almost too perfect, given all the suspense and intrigue it generates, and with DiCaprio’s violent Billy and Damon’s more subtly unscrupulous Colin, offers a nuanced take on good guy and bad guy archetypes that’s further complicated by a smoky love triangle sub-plot and capped off by a bloody, twist-filled final act (the final shot was admittedly a bit much). Colourful dialogue and great gritty music and cinematography round out this impeccably acted crime drama.

8.5/10 (Amazing)