Just Mercy

Just Mercy ★★★★

The absolute epitome of a solid film where everything works just as it should, like a well-oiled machine. Destin Daniel Cretton's assured direction isn't at all showy, instead allowing the actors to do the heavy lifting with a great script, as they tell the true story of a young, idealistic lawyer's efforts to prove a black man's innocence in Alabama and get him off death row.

Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx are both stellar in this, but plaudits also have to be given to Rob Morgan's turn as a Vietnam vet on death row suffering from PTSD. The amount of attention this subplot is afforded is the reason the running-time exceeds two-hours, and it is absolutely warranted. Tim Blake Nelson also pops up with an impressive show.

Sometimes these sorts of films, based on true stories, are criticised for being a bit Oscar bait-y, or worse, manipulative in the way they try to tug at your heart strings. But I call bullshit. If people want less films that are important (in capital letters) then maybe we need to do more to do away with the institutionalised bigotry that makes these stories real. Don't blame films for pointing a finger at real events. Just Mercy is a terrific film - moving, absorbing, and yes, IMPORTANT. A story that still feels horribly relevant despite the fact that it's set 20 years ago.

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