Gary Cruise’s review published on Letterboxd:
Just Mercy is a drama based on a true story following world-renowned civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson who works to free a wrongly condemned death row prisoner.
Odeon Screen Unseen have done it again for the second time within a month, another phenomenal upcoming movie that I’ve been lucky enough to watch early. Just Mercy is an incredible movie that I knew absolutely nothing about before going into it which made it all the more intense as I had no idea where the story was going from one scene to another. Now, I say intense, with a lot of the movies I review on here that usually entails a knife wielding maniac chasing a bunch of teenagers. This is obviously a different kind of intense. This movie is intense because of the horrifying reality behind the true story it’s based on and the fact that people actually received this horrible treatment because of their race. With that being said, it’s an extremely frustrating watch on multiple occasions as we, the audience, can see the truth that is being put off time and time again just to satisfy the small mindedness of the justice system in the environment within the movie.
It’s a very well written movie that uses this story to create something that is moving and captivating with more than a few hard to watch moments. There was one sequence in particular that had my screening, that had a few talkers from time to time, completely silent with an atmosphere that I don’t think I’ve ever felt in the cinema before. The cinematography in this sequence (and the whole movie in general) is fantastic and often feels very close and personal to the story. This movie also has a great score that never fails to go unnoticed even though it isn’t exactly in your face.
The performances in this movie are phenomenal and a big part of why it’s so powerful. Michael B. Jordan does a great job in leading the movie as Bryan Stevenson. The determination behind Jordan’s character is made so believable through his stellar performance to the point that you feel like you’re right there with him the entire time. He sells every single scene and his chemistry with Jamie Foxx’s Walter McMillian is phenomenal. The fact that neither of these actors were nominated for a Golden Globe is shocking and I hope they have better luck getting Oscar nominations. Foxx provides a ton of emotion for his role to the point that he had me with a lump in my throat a few times as he looked as though he was struggling to get through his lines without tears.
Rob Morgan is a stand out as Herbert Richardson. Morgan sells one of the movie’s most heartbreaking scenes and deserves so much recognition for his performance. Brie Larson is also in this movie as Eva Ansley. I really don’t get the internet’s hate for Larson. There’s a few reviews on IMDb where people are complaining about her and it makes no sense as to why anyone would find a problem with her in this movie! She doesn’t do a lot in it because she doesn’t need to and she does the best with what she’s given! Her wig was also incredible, just thought I’d get that out there.
Overall, the fact that Just Mercy currently only has a 6.1 on IMDb is insane. This movie deserves so much more than that. This is a thought provoking, touching, captivating, shocking and emotionally powerful movie with amazing performances and incredible direction. It really deserves as much recognition as it can get, go see this movie when it’s released!
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