Synopsis of film and action
Fred Hampton, based on true events, is a charismatic young activist who becomes president of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party. This position puts him directly in the crosshairs of the government, the FBI and the Chicago Police Department. The FBI recruited William Bill O’Neill, a petty criminal charged with a minor federal crime, to infiltrate the party and provide information about Hampton to the government. But when the government starts talking about murder to silence the Hamptons, Bill begins to question his choices.
Movie Judas and the Black Messiah Summary
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During the civil rights movement in the late 1960s, William Bill O’Neill (Leisit Stanfield) is a 17-year-old petty criminal in Chicago. He was arrested after impersonating a federal agent in a carjacking. Bill is approached by FBI Special Agent Roy Mitchell (Jesse Plemons), who offers to drop the charges against Bill if he agrees to work undercover for the government. Bill accepts and begins his mission to infiltrate the Illinois branch of the Black Panther Party to gather information on the group’s leader, Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya).
Soon after, Bill joined the Black Panthers and moved closer and closer to the Hamptons. Hampton worked to expand the Black Panther’s power base by forging alliances with rival gangs and militias and developing programs such as Free Breakfast for Kids. At the same time, public speaking in the Hamptons attracts many people and influences the formation of a multi-racial rainbow coalition. On a personal level, Hampton begins a relationship and falls in love with party member Deborah Johnson (Dominic Fishback).
Bill gathers the information and passes it on to Mitchell. The bill has been paid for his information. Bill learns that fugitive party member George Sams (Tereil Hill), who is hiding out in the local party office, is an FBI informant. Sam’s presence at the party office allows the bureau to obtain a search warrant. Shortly thereafter, Hampton was arrested and sent to prison. While Hampton is locked up, Bill begins to move up the ranks and is promoted to captain of security. In this role, the party is involved in a shootout with Chicago police at its headquarters. During the shooting, Bill sneaks into the office while the police bombard him. Then Bill Mitchell tells us he’s tired of being a whistleblower. However, Mitchell threatens to throw Bill in jail for stealing a car. Bill continues to act as an informant.
Politics is war without bloodshed, while war is politics with bloodshed. Fred Hampton.
After some time, Hampton is released from prison while his case is on appeal. Hampton rejoins Deborah, who is pregnant with his child. When Hampton returns to headquarters, everyone celebrates, until they learn that party member Jimmy Palmer (Ashton Sanders), who was shot in a gunfight, was killed by police while being transported to another hospital. One member of the group, Jake Winters (Algie Smith), goes crazy and starts committing murders. He ended up killing several officers before being shot himself.
At FBI headquarters, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover… Edgar Hoover (Martin Sheen) is tasked with neutralizing Hampton before he returns to prison after losing his appeal. Mitchell asks for Bill’s help in planning Hampton’s murder. Bill rejects the idea, but Mitchell threatens to tell the party that Bill is an informant if he refuses to help. Bill reluctantly agrees to help. Bill is approached at the bar by a supposed government agent who hands him a bottle of tranquilizers and orders him to have a Hamptonian drink with it.
The next night party members gathered at Hampton’s apartment, and the next day he was sent to jail. An allied gang leader offers Hampton money to flee the country, but Hampton refuses. Instead, Hampton orders the creation of a trust fund with money in Jake’s name. That night, Bill knocks out the Hamptons with alcohol and leaves the party. Hours later, Chicago police officers and FBI agents stormed an apartment in the Hamptons and killed several party members, including one in the Hamptons. Deborah is present during the raid and hears how officers execute her husband while he is in bed. A few days later, Bill meets Mitchell, who gives him money and a pair of keys to a gas station purchased in Bill’s name. Bill tries to leave, but reluctantly accepts the money and keys.
The film ends with archival footage of Hampton’s speeches, his funeral procession, and an interview with the real William O’Neill in 1989. The public learned that Bill continued to work as an informant against the party until 1979. Bill committed suicide the day after his television interview aired in 1989. A lawsuit has been filed against the FBI and Chicago police for a 1970 raid on a Hamptons apartment. The case was settled 12 years later for $1.85 million. Deborah eventually gave birth to a son, Fred Hampton Jr. Deborah and her son are board members and chairmen of the Black Panther Party.
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Warner Bros. Pictures released Judas and the Black Messiah on the 12th. February 2021. The film is directed by Shaka King and features Daniel Kaluuya, Lakit Stanfield and Jesse Plemons in the lead roles.
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