Just Mercy

Film, Drama
Recommended
4 out of 5 stars
Just Mercy

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

This real-life death-row drama has a great cast who all on top form.

A trainee lawyer helps death row inmates in this stirring drama based on the work of attorney Bryan Stevenson. Michael B Jordan (‘Creed’, ‘Black Panther’) is on fine form as the young Harvard graduate who offers free legal services to men like Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx), who’s been sentenced to death for murdering a white woman in Alabama in 1986. The more Stevenson probes the case, the more preposterous the ‘evidence’ begins to appear, but he faces opposition from racist cops and DAs.

It’s an inspiring tale that’s told in a traditional fashion, with lots of plain speaking to make sure audiences are receiving its messaging loud and clear. But the steady hand of director Cretton (‘Short Term 12’) is aided by a strong cast who keep the tone just the right side of sentimental. Jamie Foxx is terrific as the condemned man who’s almost lost all hope, buoyed only by the solidarity of his fellow convicts (including O’Shea Jackson Jr). Brie Larson underplays it nicely as Stevenson’s colleague, while Rafe Spall injects dark humour as a district attorney whose breezy manner is a thin veil over his prejudice. And it’s hard to imagine anyone but the brilliant Tim Blake Nelson playing troubled convict Ralph Myers, on whose testimony the conviction is based.

The frustrating injustices and what feels like a prolonged execution scene mean this isn’t always an easy watch, but it’s an ultimately heart-warming one that argues passionately for justice, community and kindness – timely indeed.

By: Anna Smith

Posted:

Details

Release details

Rated:
12A
Release date:
Friday January 17 2020
Duration:
137 mins

Cast and crew

Director:
Destin Daniel Cretton
Screenwriter:
Destin Daniel Cretton
Cast:
Brie Larson
Michael B. Jordan
Jamie Foxx