In Just Mercy, Michael B. Jordan is a young attorney looking for justice. Based on a true story, the film follows Jordan’s Bryan Stevenson as he attempts the clear the name of Walter McMillian, played by Jamie Foxx, who was wrongfully convicted of murder and sentenced to death row. Brie Larson also stars in the drama, which got a good deal of attention when it premiered at TIFF this year. Watch the new Just Mercy trailer below.
Just Mercy Trailer
In Just Mercy, Michael B. Jordan is Bryan Stevenson, a recent Harvard graduate who “heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or who were not afforded proper representation, with the support of local advocate Eva Ansley. One of his first, and most incendiary, cases is that of Walter McMillian, who, in 1987, was sentenced to die for the notorious murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite a preponderance of evidence proving his innocence and the fact that the only testimony against him came from a criminal with a motive to lie. In the years that follow, Bryan becomes embroiled in a labyrinth of legal and political maneuverings and overt and unabashed racism as he fights for Walter, and others like him, with the odds—and the system—stacked against them.” In addition to Jordan, the film stars Jamie Foxx, Rob Morgan, Tim Blake Nelson, Rafe Spall, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Karan Kendrick, and Brie Larson star, with Destin Daniel Cretton directing.
The story is based on the book by the real Bryan Stevenson, who was compelled to take on the case due to an Alabam practice known as “Judge Override.” In McMillian’s trial, the judge recommended life imprisonment, but Alabama allows “elected trial judges to override jury verdicts of life and impose death sentences.” As a result, the judge in the case sentenced McMillian to death. After visiting with McMillian in prison, Stevenson became convinced of his innocence and worked to clear his name.
I missed Just Mercy at TIFF, but in her review for /Film, Abby Olcese called the movie a “well-intentioned misfire”, writing:
While Just Mercy likely won’t make much of a splash beyond this year’s fall film season, and ends up being a fairly shallow portrayal of a real-life individual whose public persona is anything but that, it’s heart is still in the right place. If nothing else, its potential success (which it will have, based on audience reactions at Toronto and Warner Bros. giving it an awards-friendly December release) could bring a lot of mainstream attention to an organization that’s still actively improving our world. On that score, Just Mercy manages to achieve one of the medium’s loftier goals: actual social change.
Just Mercy opens in select theaters December 25 and wide on January 10, 2020.
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