Cast: Marcus A. Griffin Jr., Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx
Directors: Destin Daniel Cretton
Producer: Michael B. Jordan, Gil Netter, Asher Goldstein
Here comes another startling true life story.
The blatant racism that ruined the lives of man a Black American in the deeply prejudiced South, gets some sort of relief when one of their own passes out of Harvard law school to guide them out of perilous legal waters.
Director Destin Daniel Cretton takes from the book written on real life activist Bryan Stevenson and focuses on the case of Walter Mcmillian on the death row. Bryan’s fight to free Mcmillian who has been wrongly sentenced for the murder of a white girl he had never even seen, goes through the white superiority callousness of the administration that just wants to see this black man go to his death. With a completely fabricated case that includes browbeating and setting up a false witness and pre-judging Mcmillian’s guilt that’s far from true. Never mind if the real murderer is still out there at large.
Unfortunately, it’s not just about Mcmillian being set free after Stevenson labours to get him a fair trial. It’s about the entrenched racism that brought grief to so many blacks, men who were denied basic rights by a system that ran through the judiciary as well.
It’s ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ territory and that’s where the irony lies. Nothing’s really changed even as late as 1987 in Alabama where the locals are very proud of the Mockingbird Museum. It’s like mocking the very civil rights that the museum is a symbol of.
It’s chilling because it’s not fiction. It’s frightening because there’s an entire community that’s resigned to its fate, its spirit broken by decades of injustice.
It’s disturbing cinema and you can’t help but hope that America has progressed since the 80s to a more just system of dealing with the law. A system without prejudice.
Michael B Jordan brings sincerity to his portrayal of Stevenson and Jamie Foxx gives dignity to wrongly accused Mcmillian.
Verdict: For a true story that needed to be told and is told very effectively, Just Mercy gets a 3.5* rating.