Just Mercy is a 2019 drama film co-written & directed by Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12, The Glass Castle, I Am Not a Hipster, & Tokyo Vice). It’s based on the book “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption” from Bryan Stevenson. It was co-written by Andrew Lanham (The Kid, The Shack, & The Glass Castle). It was produced by Bryan Stevenson (Abbeville: Lynching in America), Michael B. Jordan (Fahrenheit 451, Creed 2/3, Kin, & Raising Dion), & Gil Netter (The Naked Gun franchise, BASEketball, High School High, & The Blind Side). The budget was $25 million & it grossed $50.4 million worldwide at the box office!!!!
In 1989, ambitious young Harvard law graduate Bryan Stevenson (played by: Michael B. Jordan from Black Panther, Fantastic Four, Fruitvale Station, & Chronicle) travels to Alabama hoping to help fight for poor people who cannot afford proper legal representation on death row. He meets with Eva Ansley (played by: Brie Larson from Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, Room, & Free Fire) & founds the Equal Justice Initiative. He travels to a prison to meet it’s death row inmates that are awaiting execution. He meets Walter “Johnny D.” McMillian (played by: Jamie Foxx from Django Unchained, Ray, Collateral, & The Amazing Spider-Man 2), an African-American man who was convicted of the 1986 murder of Ronda Morrison entirely on the testimony of convicted felon Ralph Myers (played by: Tim Blake Nelson from The Incredible Hulk, Watchmen, Fantastic Four, & O Brother, Where Art Thou?). Stevenson’s first move is to ask prosecutor Tommy Chapman (played by: Rafe Spall from Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead, & Dracula) for aid; Chapman dismisses him without even looking at Stevenson’s notes. Stevenson then asks McMillian family friend Darnell Houston to testify that he was with a witness who corroborated Myers’ testimony the day of the murder, which would cause the prosecution’s case to fall apart. Houston is intimidated into refusing to testify in court. Stevenson then approaches Myers himself, who eventually admits that his testimony was coerced after police played to his fear of being burned & threatened to have him executed by electric chair. Stevenson appeals to the local court to grant McMillan a retrial & successfully convinces Myers to recant his testimony on the stand but the judge nevertheless refuses to grant a retrial. He appears on 60 Minutes to rally public support in favor of McMillan. He appeals to the Supreme Court of Alabama. The Supreme Court overturns the circuit court’s decision & grants McMillan his retrial. Can he save this Innocent man from dying????
This drama has a great story & you see a man fight for innocent people who were all about to die for crimes that they didn’t commit. It’s definitely an Oscar bait type of feature, it didn’t get nominated for any of the major awards which was a huge surprise to me. Michael B. Jordan was great as the lead here, it’s one off his best performances. Oscar winners Jamie Foxx & Brie Larson both delivered different roles than you used to seeing them from them. They really transformed into the real life characters for Just Mercy. I can’t forget about Tim Blake Nelson who went from scumbag to someone trying to do the right thing. He was spot on as Ralph Myers, he went through so much in this. The rest of the supporting cast which mainly consisted of unknowns really boosted the overall production value here. It gets intense & it has a nice build up, I am glad that everything has changed because it was a rough time back then. This one is worth checking out, RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Warner Bros! This 1080p (1.85:1) transfer looks great on blu ray. It really captures the south, prison, & the courtroom during the trails for Just Mercy. It’s loaded with a nice variety of audio which includes English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1, English: Dolby Digital 5.1, French: Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1, & Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1 on the release. All the dialogue is crystal clear & the music has a nice boost to it. It has English SDH, French, Portuguese, & Spanish subtitles.
Let’s discuss the special features from Warner Bros! “Making ‘Mercy” is a little over 4 minutes. It has interviews with director Destin Daniel Cretton, actors Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Brie Larson, & various members of the crew. They chat about how important this story is. They talk about having passion to get this feature made. They bring up having an all black crew to put together behind the scenes. They go over what happened & how this changed everything. “The Equal Justice Initiative” is a little over 8 minutes. The real life Bryan Stevenson goes over his work from all these years. He says they started small but now they are everywhere. He brings up that he fights to the ones without a voice. “This Moment Deserves” is a little over 6 minutes. It has interviews with the cast & crew. They chat about playing these real life characters. They talk about spending time & studying the inspirations for this true story. They go their experience & how important this project was to them. It has a little over 14 minutes of “Deleted Scenes”. I am actually surprised some of this didn’t make the final cut. It also has a slipcover & a digital code. It’s available everywhere next week, CHECK IT OUT!!!!