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A handful of questions asked during an interrogation in “Judas and the Black Messiah” are key to propelling the plot of this tense historical drama.
Set in the late 1960s, the movie follows William O’Neal (Lakeith Stanfield), a young man who becomes an informant, feeding the F.B.I. intelligence about the Chicago Black Panther Party and one of its leaders, Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya.) This early scene comes after O’Neal is caught using a fake F.B.I. badge to steal a car.
Narrating the sequence, King says the moment is about “the danger of being apolitical.” O’Neal is asked his feelings about the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and admits to being upset. But when asked about the killing of Malcolm X, he has more of an indifferent response. “We really wanted to hit home the old phrase, if you stand for nothing you’ll fall for anything,” King narrates.
Read the “Judas and the Black Messiah” review.
Read an interview with the director Shaka King.
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