Based off his nonfiction account Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson, the film version of the same name follows Stevenson as he takes on various death row inmate cases in the early years of his law career. The most prominent of these cases is the case of Walter McMillian, who was wrongly accused of brutally murdering a young teenage girl. McMillian’s case was weak at best, the only eye witness account being a lie. Stevenson takes on this case to fight against the injustice facing McMillian and the other death row inmates.
Just Mercy stars Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx as Bryan Stevenson and Walter McMillian, respectively. These actors portray their roles realistically, showing not only strong acting skills, but in depth knowledge of both the people whom they are portraying, and the story with which they are telling. Destin Daniel Cretton directs the actors with remarkable accuracy with the help of Stevenson.
Even among the strong performances, there are moments where acting falls a little short, or where emotions seem forced, but those moments are few and far between. It is truly special when actors take such a dedicated position in the film making; they act, not only to make a pay check, but to tell a story and to convey to the audience the meaning behind the narrative. The cast did just this.
Just Mercy is enthralling from start to finish. The story that serves as the background is a heartbreaking tale, and I’d be lying if I said this movie didn’t make me cry. This is one of the only movies where I’ve felt every emotion: sadness over the injustice inflicted on these men, anger over the blatant racism and bigoted ideology from southern whites in the 1980s, and a feeling of joy at seeing true and honest relationships formed and sustained throughout this dark time. This movie is eye opening, and I believe that it should be a movie that everyone sees.