Just Mercy Review & Film Summary – Young lawyer Bryan Stevenson embarks on a great fight to get justice in the film based on the true story “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption.” After graduating from Harvard, Bryan is expected to take part in money-generating jobs. But he goes after a man who was wrongfully convicted in Alabama. With the help of local lawyer Eva Ansley, they will try to prove the innocence of a man who was sentenced to death in 1987. Walter McMillan is blamed for the death of a young 18-year-old girl. However, although there was no evidence to hold him responsible, McMillan was sentenced to death. While Bryan is trying to prove Walter’s innocence, he will soon realize that he is actually starting to fight against racism.
Just Mercy Review & Film Summary – Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan), an attorney in Alabama, specialises in defending falsely accused inmates. Under the non-profit Equal Justice Initiative, Stevenson identifies convicts on death row who have not received proper representation during their trials either due to their race, or social status. Along with his Operations Director Eva Ansley (Brie Larson), Bryan takes up such cases when he comes across an inmate Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx), facing execution for a murder he did not commit. Bryan quickly realises he must save Walter from the electric chair.
Although the screenplay depicts Bryan Stevenson as a one-dimensional crusader of justice and equality, Michael B. Jordan continues to be a reliable actor, quickly getting the audience on-board with Stevenson’s cause. Similarly, it’s impossible not to feel sympathy for Walter McMillian with Jamie Foxx’s powerful portrayal. While helpless behind bars, Walter was confident in his innocence, and Foxx captures this struggle with conviction. Rob Morgan puts in a heartbreaking turn as Herbert Richardson, in a subplot as a war veteran who has PTSD. A special mention goes out to Rafe Spall as prosecutor Tommy Chapman, whose conflicted stance is portrayed with a lot of delicacy. Brie Larson feels underutilised as Eva Ansley.
Director Destin Daniel Cretton approaches the film like a documentary. And decidedly refrains from delving into emotional. For a movie about a man on death row, a sense of storytelling urgency lacks in the first half of the film. The leisurely pacing weighs heavy at over 2 hours of its runtime. However, there’s a distinct turn of events after a crucial revelation. After this point the film finds its footing, moving to the climax with more purpose. Nevertheless, some scenes are startling and do more than enough to remind audiences of the harsh reality of life behind bars, besides racial discrimination, while raising essential questions on capital punishment. Most importantly, Just Mercy shows us how the legal system can be manipulated by the rich and privileged across the globe. Although ‘Just Mercy’ takes its time to get there, the conclusion is unquestionably impactful.