Judas and the Black Messiah appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The transfer lived up to expectations.
Overall sharpness appeared strong. Only the slightest sliver of softness ever materialized, so the vast majority of the flick seemed accurate and precise.
The movie usually seemed solid, and I noticed no shimmering or jagged edges. Edge haloes and print flaws remained absent – outside of some archival elements and intentional specks for “aged” photography.
Despite the movie’s period setting, it opted for an orange and teal orientation that felt typical for modern movies. The disc reproduced them as intended.
Blacks appeared dark and deep, and shadows showed good delineation. Low-light shots offered nice clarity. In the end, I felt pleased with this appealing presentation.
As for the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it added a bit of zip to the proceedings. A fairly chatty affair, the mix lacked a ton of zing, but it blasted music from all the channels and let the effects fill the spectrum.
A few violent scenes used the soundscape to the most impactful degree. These moments occurred infrequently, though, so street atmosphere became the most consistent element, and those moments created a satisfying sense of place and setting.
Audio quality worked well. Speech was concise and natural, while music – which mixed score and period songs – boasted fine range and vivacity.
Effects gave us accurate, dynamic elements without distortion. Though not an especially ambitious track, the movie’s mix seemed more than acceptable.
Two featurettes appear here, and Fred Hampton for the People runs nine minutes, 19 seconds. It offers comments from writer/director Shaka King, co-producers Keith and Kenny Lucas, writer Will Berson, producers Charles D. King and Ryan Coogler, Black Panther Party Cubs’ Chairman Fred Hampton Jr., and actors Daniel Kaluuya, LaKeith Stanfield, Dominique Fishback, Dominique Thorne and Jesse Plemons.
“People” offers some basics about the history behind the movie. We don’t really learn much that the movie fails to tell us, though it’s good to hear from Hampton’s actual son.
Unexpected Betrayal lasts seven minutes, 47 seconds and brings notes from Stanfield. Kaluuya, Kenny and Keith Lucas, Coogler, King, and Plemons.
With “Betrayal”, we get another view of the movie’s factual basis, with an emphasis on the O’Neal role. Like “People”, this one includes some basics but it lacks depth.
The disc opens with ads for In the Heights, The Little Things and Just Mercy. No trailer for Messiah appears here.
As a historical character drama, Judas and the Black Messiah works fairly well but it never digs as deeply as it needs. With a focus on two separate roles, it lacks the depth it requires to prosper. The Blu-ray brings strong picture along with good audio and minor bonus materials. This becomes a well-made but somewhat underwhelming tale.