Just Mercy film review

A powerful piece about the abuse of the justice system and the desire to fix it

Just Mercy is a powerful look into the history of the life of a man whose hope outlasted the injustice that fell upon him. It’s a well-acted, moving story that generates both fits of anger in its viewers and makes a strong message that still lives in the United States Justice system today.

Just Mercy revolves around the true events of Bryan Stevenson, a lawyer who goes to help inmates on death row. He encounters Walter McMillian, who is sentenced to die in 1987 for the murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite almost no evidence. The story continues in the years that follow where Stevenson encounters racism and legal/political interference while he tries to save McMillian’s life.

The acting is top-notch from all the cast. The strong bond that forms between Bryan and Walter’s characters, which is masterfully played by Jamie Fox, is a truly humble and endearing bind that stays true to its real-life counterparts. Brie Larson does a great job showing Eva Ansley’s resolve as not only a great person whose desire for justice is strong but as a great companion to Bryan throughout his journey. However, its strength comes from the depiction of the justice system at its worst.

A great film can have the audience either sympathize with the villain or have them hate them to unhealthy amounts. This film did the latter with the antagonist being the justice system itself. The whole time viewing this film, I’d expect to see some form of non-biased, straight to the point legal movement in order to aid the people being accused and sentenced to death. It never came. Representing one of the many problems that still remain within the United States Justice Department.

The only thing I could say about the film is that it attempts to connect every problem that had faced this one case against Walter to the entire concept of the death penalty itself. However, many of the problems presented only reflect on Walter’s specific case alone, leaving it to seem like a stretch from the filmmakers themselves rather than a flowing conclusion.

Just Mercy is a great story on the idea of carrying hope throughout any ordeal. And seeing this man’s journey through this film is a great start to making a change in the bigger picture to create adequate reform into a program that isn’t flawless.