Just Mercy Review

Just Mercy

Credit: Warner Bros.

Warner Bros. has released two films in 2019 based on true stories about different men being falsely accused by authorities. Both have important messages on how we shouldn’t quickly jump to conclusions and how being falsely accused can ruin the lives of the person and their families. In Richard Jewel, a man helped saved many by discovering a bomb. However, the FBI and the media suspected that he was the bomber and turned his life into a living hell. And then we have Just Mercy, which follows Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan), a lawyer from Harvard Jordan who tries to help Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx) get out of death row for a murder he didn’t commit. It was a long and dark journey where a black man spent 6 years in prison. Destin Daniel Cretton, the director of Just Mercy, put the focus on the human element and how Stevenson and McMillian were treated unfairly by authorities in a small town in Alabama in the late ’80s. The result is a film that captures strong performances from the cast, showing us that racism is still a reality and scary.

Stevenson is on a mission to fight injustice and helps to defend those sentenced to death in Alabama since the state didn’t offer death row inmates legal help. McMillian, a pulpwood worker with a family, caught his attention because of how his case was handled. The testimonies that helped sentenced him to death made little sense. He was indicted for the murder of Ronda Morrison, an 18-year-old white woman who was shot and killed during her shift at a dry-cleaning store. During that morning, McMillian was at a church event with friends and family, which was miles away from the murder. Even with all the eyewitnesses, it took a lie from an inmate to turn his life upside down. Stevenson decides to take the case and help him, and this enraged the authorities in Monroe County and the families of Morrison.

Based on Stevenson’s book, Jordan captures the struggles the lawyer had to deal with in Monroe County. Whether he was treated unfairly because of his skin color or his fight to defend the wrongfully accused, we can feel his pain, fear, and determination. In one scene, Jordan was able to convey a lot on his face with no dialogue, and it’s a testament to his acting skills. Foxx shows vulnerability as a man let down by society, with the system taking away his humanity. The supporting cast all do a fine job, especially those playing McMillian’s family members. One of the standouts was Darrell Britt-Gibson as Darnell Houston, a man grappling with the choice of either helping out McMillian and his family or trying to survive his day-to-day life.

Just Mercy is a very human drama and powerful film with moving performances by Jamie Foxx, Michael B Jordan, and its supporting cast. Director Destin Daniel Cretton portrays how racism and corruption can devastate a community and the tough climb in seeking justice.

Score: 4/5 Atoms

You can check out my video review below.

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