review by Bobby Blakey
I love movies about real life events and when handled properly end up being some of the best stories out there. Sadly they usually offer up events that will no doubt anger you for the way it was handled or how has impacted people’s lives. The latest, Just Mercy starring Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, and Brie Larson from director of the upcoming Marvel Shang-Chi movie, Destin Daniel Cretton. Could this movie do this man’s story justice or will it be a mistrial?
Just Mercy” follows young lawyer Bryan Stevenson and his history-making battle for justice. After graduating from Harvard, Bryan had his pick of lucrative jobs. Instead, he heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or who were not afforded proper representation, with the support of local advocate Eva Ansley. One of his first, and most incendiary, cases is that of Walter McMillian, who, in 1987, was sentenced to die for the notorious murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite a preponderance of evidence proving his innocence and the fact that the only testimony against him came from a criminal with a motive to lie. In the years that follow, Bryan becomes embroiled in a labyrinth of legal and political maneuverings and overt and unabashed racism as he fights for Walter, and others like him, with the odds—and the system—stacked against them.
From the trailers alone and knowing this guy’s story I knew there was going to be something here worth checking out and I was not disappointed. This is a slow burn movie, but thanks to an engaging story and great performances it manages to pull you right in whether you know the real story or not. Jordan continues to prove himself as such a great and diverse actor that brings that something special to every role he plays. You fully believe his passion and dedication to this case and brings great justice to the story of Stevenson. Foxx is on point as well bringing a bit of a different kind of performance as someone who has lost all hope and is at the point where he doesn’t even want help any longer. His subtle performance with periodic outburst of emotion is perfect for
this role and helps with the chemistry he and Jordan have together.
Larson is good here as well. While her role is a bit more of an every woman type she brings some power to it to remind you how important this lady was to the bigger picture of the case. The story is both infuriating and excellent. As a film you are pulled right in and on the edge waiting to see what is unfolded and how the case turns out, if you weren’t already aware of the true story, but also pisses you off to how it all happened in the first place. This is a story that is not only inspiring in regards to everything Stevenson has done in his career, but sadly still relevant to what is going on in the world.
I went into this film hoping for a great court room drama and came out feeling more than I expected to in the way of my emotions to our legal system and the racism in this country. This is a film that needs to be seen and we are in a world that needs more Bryan Stevenson’s in it.
In addition to the film this release offers up bonus content including deleted scenes and featurettes taking you behind the truth to bring this story to the big screen. Step into the court and grab your copy of Just Mercy when it hits from digital retailers beginning on March 17 and then on digital on March 24th and then digitally on Video on Demand services from cable and satellite providers and select gaming consoles beginning on March 24. from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.