Binge Watch: Daniel Kaluuya

We’ve entered February, and it’s going to be a great month for movie lovers. One of those early releases will be Judas and the Black Messiah, led by Daniel Kaluuya. The film opens nationwide on February 12, but Kaluuya already scored big with a Golden Globe nomination announced Wednesday. So, I thought this week it would be fun to look back at a few projects he’s done for those that can’t get enough.

Without further ado, on to this week’s binge! All the titles will appear in chronological order.

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Black Mirror: Fifteen Million Merits (2011)
About
: We start with Kaluuya’s appearance in Black Mirror, the dark anthology series that looks at the pitfalls of technology. The series began in England and took a few years before it moved to America and Netflix as a platform. Kaluuya’s performance came in the second episode of the first season. I remember when I first saw it I was more excited to see his co-star, Jessica Brown Findlay who, at the time, was a star on Downton Abbey. But it was Kaluuya who stole the show. This isn’t the strongest Black Mirror episode, but Kaluuya is very good in it and has some showcase moments that let you know he’s going to be a star.

Rating: 3 out of 4.

 Sicario (2015)
About:
This film is excellent and a personal favorite. It’s easy to focus on the stars, Josh Brolin, Benicio Del Toro and Emily Blunt. Kaluuya doesn’t have a big role in the film, but he plays Blunt’s FBI partner. While she eventually heads out on her own adventures, Kaluuya plays a pivotal role in the early going. This film is an excellent watch.

Rating: 4 out of 4.
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Get Out (2017)
About
: This film from Jordan Peele caught the world by storm. It features Kaluuya as a boyfriend heading to meet his girlfriend’s (Allison Williams) parents. Things go off the rails. This was a creative horror film, one that stuck with audiences and earned plenty of praise and award nominations. That extended to Kaluuya, who was fantastic in the lead role. Kaluuya was nominated for Best Actor, one of four Academy Award nominations for the film. He didn’t win, but I suspect we’ll be seeing him on the big stage again soon. If you haven’t seen Get Out, you should make a point to check it out.

Rating: 3 out of 4.

Black Panther (2018)
About:
This is one of the best movies from 2018, and one of the best movies from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Chadwick Boseman is the titular star here, and he’s great. Michael B. Jordan plays the villain, and he’s also great. Kaluuya plays a supporting role, one of the leaders of Wakanda who ends up turning against T’Challa (Boseman). The film, from director Ryan Coogler, is a fun ride that earned seven Academy Award nominations and three wins. Kaluuya plays a fun role and is part of an excellent ensemble here.

Rating: 4 out of 4.
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Widows (2018)
About:
Another fantastic ensemble that features Kaluuya, and another under-rated gem from 2018. Viola Davis heads the cast here and is the lead, and it’s mostly about her crew trying to save themselves. Steve McQueen directs the film, and it’s a fun and well-crafted drama. Kaluuya plays the role of one of the primary antagonists and delivers another excellent performance in a film that probably deserved more attention and love. If you missed Widows in 2018, you’re not alone. It’s worth tracking down and checking out.

Rating: 3 out of 4.

Queen & Slim (2019)
About:
This film received a lot of attention when it was released late in 2019. It tells a tough, and timely story of racial tensions between African American citizens and police. In this case, it ends in violence and the couple involved (Kaluuya and co-star Jodie Turner-Smith) become sort of a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde. I didn’t care for the story in this one and wasn’t particularly taken with the film. In fact, I think some of the ideology espoused verged on dangerous. However, Kaluuya gives a great performance, showing his tremendous talent and range.

Rating: 1 out of 4.

Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a proud member of the Drive-In Podcast Network.

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