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There have reportedly been more than 20,080 years (Washington Post) lost to wrongful convictions to date. As art imitates life, this ground has been extensively covered by directors on film and no ink has been spared by countless authors who have written on the topic, and Just Mercy is the latest to take up the mantle.
We love an underdog story, we love witnessing miraculous turnarounds from impossible situations; Just Mercy satisfies our appetite for this effortlessly.
Enter Just Mercy, directed by Destin Daniel Cretton (The Glass Castle, Short Term 12) and starring heavyweights Jamie Foxx (Ray, Baby Driver, Django: Unchained) and Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther, the Creed franchise, Fruitvale Station). The film walks the well-travelled route of a courtroom drama focusing on the overturning of a wrongful conviction. If that wasn’t difficult enough for the protagonists, Jamie Foxx (who plays Walter McMillian and Michael B. Jordan (who plays Bryan Stevenson), they’re having to do this in the deep south in the late 1980s.
Naturally, the prejudices tackled are not only present in the courtroom, but even something that Harvard graduate Bryan Stevenson has to deal with. But how do you make this interesting and fresh to an audience that has been inundated in recent years with such similar content? Just Mercy skillfully sidesteps the mundane pitfalls that many of its contemporaries fall into by casting two great leads who bring the story alive, and most importantly the film manages to walk the line of being incredibly entertaining while not losing any factual credibility.
You’ll learn so much about the Walter McMillian case, and the countless others while you’re on the emotional rollercoaster that is Just Mercy. The emotions the film invokes is undoubtedly the linchpin, tears of both joy and sadness will undoubtedly be shed. To date there have been 2,265 (Washington Post) exonerations in America, and Just Mercy’s depiction of one of these is undoubtedly one of the most gripping.
Catch Just Mercy in cinemas now. Get your tickets here.
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