A whirlwind of emotions.
I’ve said during many of my reviews that a movie is nothing if you don’t care for the characters – as you need to be invested in those on the screen in order to root for them.
I was rooting for each and every person in Just Mercy – even more so knowing it was based on a true story.
This powerful and important movie sees Bryan Stevenson (Creed’s Michael B Jordan), a Harvard-educated lawyer who moves to Alabama to start an organisation defending death row inmates that are not in a position to afford adequate representation – and doesn’t take a single dollar from them.
He teams up with Eva Ansley (Oscar-winner Brie ‘Captain Marvel’ Larson) and together they start work to seek justice and ultimately try to save lives. One of their clients is Walter McMillian (Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx), better known as Johnny D – a man facing the death penalty for a murder he may or may not have committed.
I won’t spoil it for you if you’re unfamiliar with this true-life case, but when Bryan takes on his defence, Walter has all but given up on the thought of ever returning to his family and his life.
Just Mercy is about hope, in the same vein as movies such as The Life of David Gale and The Shawshank Redemption.
The film also focuses heavily around racism and abuse of power. There were moments when I felt so angry at scenes unfolding in front of me and it has been a while since a movie surfaced such emotion.
Despite the dark themes, Just Mercy is surprisingly light-hearted and humorous at times – in a way that felt natural to the story. Also, for a flick that is so character driven, it was much pacier than I had anticipated.
Again, I think this came down to characters I truly cared for, in a case I truly felt invested in – which mercifully makes this one of the best of its ilk in quite some time.
ESP Rating: 4.5/5
Cast: Michael B Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Rob Morgan, Tim Blake Nelson, Rafe Spall, O’shea Jackson Jr & Brie Larson
Running Time: 2 Hrs 16 Mins
Director: Destin Daniel Cretton
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