Just Mercy is a plea for justice and mercy in a world which has none.
It’s based on the work of Bryan Stevenson, a Harvard graduate who chose to move to Alabama and work for a small salary to help examine the convictions of men on death row…men who in some cases were not guilty at all. And yet the system strained every sinew to keep them in jail, seemingly for the crime of their skin color.
How this hasn’t been nominated for Oscars I have no idea. Michael B. Jordan is incredible as Bryan Stevenson even if he doesn’t seem to have a romantic or social life outside of the central narrative. But by film, Jaimie Foxx completes his redemption back to proper actor as Walter McMillian, one of the wrongly convicted men that Stevenson attempts to save from execution.
One thing that got a wry smile out of me was that Stevenson keeps being told that the town he has come to is where To Kill a Mockingbird was written and that he should check out the local museum dedicated to it before being told about the latest breach of his clients civil and legal rights.
Yes, the irony goes completely over their heads.
Beyond that, sadly, this is a film that I’ve seen before and will, even worse, see again in the future and whilst it’s really well directed and acted there’s not really anything here that you haven’t seen before and yes, I smiled at the funny bits, had a tear in my eye at the sad bits and got angry at the bits that I was supposed to get angry at. But I wanted a few things explained to me.
Because the film is so focused (and rightly so) on it’s central outrageous narrative that the organisation that Jordan and Brie Larson (who’s character is in dire need of more screen-time and development ) seems to have new staff seemingly growing out of the mildew on it’s walls as we never see them hiring anyone. And, pretty much every character needs more development. This is one of the VERY few films that could do with another ten minutes on the run-time.
It also feels like it’s pulling it’s punches slightly with regards to the race aspect of this story. There’s one crank phone call at the start of the film and then it’s never really brought up in detail again.
Just Mercy is an incredibly well acted piece of cinema telling a tragic true story that sadly still happens today. How Foxx and Jordan aren’t up for Oscars I’ll never understand but I feel that had it taken it’s time to develop it’s characters a little more then it could have had more of the emotional impact that it’s clearly going for. There’s not much more it could have done right and I do recommend it but there were just a few little niggles that kept this from greatness.
My Score- See It