Just Mercy

just mercy

By Joanna Langfield

Sometimes, a film doesn’t have to be “elevated” in order to be effective. While this story of injustice isn’t artsy or showy, thanks to its heart breaking basis, along with some terrific performances, it had me in tears throughout.

Michael B. Jordan stars as real life lawyer Bryan Stevenson, a Harvard grad who, in 1989, began a practice in rural Alabama with the expressed purpose of representing death row inmates wrongly condemned or not properly represented. With the assistance of a local white woman (nicely played by Brie Larson), Stevenson’s still welcomed in town with skepticism, even from some of those he tries to help. While we get to know a few of the incarcerated clients, most of the story here centers on Walter McMillian, given a death sentence for murdering a local white girl.

Jamie Foxx is wonderful as the weathered, weary Walter. In nearly every scene, we see the resignation, anger and possible hope he’s acquired over the years. Surrounding him are the excellent O’Shea Jackson, Jr and an outstanding, wrench your heart out, Rob Morgan. Tim Blake Nelson saunters in about halfway through and, initially, provides some almost comic relief. But when the film gets down to his business, we see what Nelson was building toward and it’s a knockout.

In the capable hands of these fine actors, and Destin Daniel Cretton’s unfettered direction, this true look at judicial injustice feels as vital and urgent now as it did some two decades (or two centuries) ago. There may be no superheroes here (although Stevenson sure comes pretty close), but this film earns attention those caped crusaders often don’t.

One Response to “Just Mercy”

  1. Just Mercy | The Movie Minute Says:

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