JUST MERCY DVD (2020)
SYNOPSIS: A powerful and thoughtprovoking true story, “Just Mercy” follows young lawyer Bryan Stevenson (Jordan) and his history-making battle for justice. After graduating from Harvard, Bryan had his pick of lucrative jobs. Instead, he heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or who were not afforded proper representation, with the support of local advocate Eva Ansley (Larson). One of his first, and most incendiary, cases is that of Walter McMillian (Foxx), who, in 1987, was sentenced to die for the notorious murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite a preponderance of evidence proving his innocence and the fact that the only testimony against him came from a criminal with a motive to lie. In the years that follow, Bryan becomes embroiled in a labyrinth of legal and political maneuverings and overt and unabashed racism as he fights for Walter, and others like him, with the odds—and the system—stacked against them.
Just Mercy comes at a time where the world is struggling with the unjust death of George Floyd. Whether it's the flawed policing procedure or the actions of Floyd, the death of the latter has triggered demonstrations, protests and lootings across the states. And it’s still ongoing as at now. Perhaps watching Just Mercy will get you a brief glimpse of the unjust treatment faced by the black communities,
Walter “Johnny D” McMillian (Jamie Foxx), an African-American pulp worker was committed of a murder of a young white teenager and was sentenced to death row. A crime he never committed despite having more than ten locals witnessing his presence at the time of the murder. In comes young Harvard law graduate, Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan) of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), a non-profit organization who aims to fight for the poor, wrongly convicted and Bryan is determined to prove Johnny D’s innocence.
Based on a true story by the real-life Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy can feel like a cheap TV-movie at times even the script mostly forgo the usual complex legal proceedings. Mind you, these are pretty minor flaws actually to begin with. On the whole, it’s a genuinely well-made drama although most will find the narrative being somewhat conventional and the courtroom scenes few and far.
There are moments showcasing the vulnerabilities of being a black such as Stevenson being body search during a prison visit to an insulting car search at gunpoint. Even the so-called cops and prosecutor has no sympathy or heart to thoroughly investigate a murder case except coercing another felon to put up a false statement. Moments liked these made you appalled at the amount of racism and abuses happening at the U.S. judicial system.
One thing for sure stood out in the entire movie- Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx delivered wondrous, subtle performances as Stevenson and Johnny D respectively. Both men constantly keeps audiences glued with their subtle, nuanced interactions. Another noticeable name, Brie Larson has a small role as Stevenson’s colleague, Eva Ansley and character actor Tim Blake Nelson has a scene stealing presence as the felon who is accused of giving a false statement.
In the end, this is a modest movie that delivers big messages. It’s definitely a slow burn for some but it’s sure worth the time. The injustice faced by Johnny D might seems far-flung for some of us. But if part of the world is fighting for the same cause, we shouldn’t take things for granted.
Just Mercy is a short segment featuring interviews with some of the main cast and crew.
Audio and visual is decent for a title that doesn’t showcase bombastic sound effects except clear audio dialogue, ambient effects and overall a decently rendered video transfer.
DVD RATING :
Review by Linus Tee