Just Mercy is a true-life story of a lawyer by the name of Byron Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan), who defended a man named Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx), who is on death row for a crime he swore he didn’t commit. The movie takes place in the USA state of Alabama where a small community is mourning the loss of a local woman who was gunned down. Despite a complete lack of evidence, authorities decided to indict Walter McMillian.
From the start of the film, you get the sense that it could be incredible in terms of acting and directing, although it might leave you empty when it comes to caring about the story. Fear not – it doesn’t take long for this feeling to be dispelled, and for you to get completely wrapped-up in it.
Most critics agree with this sentiment, namely Plugged In, saying ‘Just Mercy is a beautiful example of the work, the courage and the faith it takes to push against the wrongs of this world’. And Neil Soans from Times of India assures us ‘Although Just Mercy takes its time to get there, the conclusion is unquestionably impactful’.
However, critics at Empire disagree, saying of the film ‘An important story of injustice inspires, but fails to fully ignite, despite two towering central performances from Jamie Foxx and Michael B. Jordan’.
Unlike a lot of loud and proud movies, the directing by Destin Daniel Cretton in this film makes you root for the respectful people in the room, and the subtle yet powerful acting, by Foxx and Jordan, slots in perfectly to create a great film.