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Just Mercy

By Alan Ng | June 2, 2020

I’ll be honest. I’m a little torn when it comes to how I feel about Just Mercy. Look, it’s a good movie, and I recommend it. Stevenson’s story is engaging as the David versus the Goliath of the state’s district attorney. There are a lot of great actors on display and put together it feels like an A-List repertory company featuring Michael B. Jordan, Brie Larson, and Jamie Fox, to name a few. Then add some outstanding supporting veteran and up-and-coming actors, Just Mercy becomes a solid drama and film. It’s also unique in that its an African-American lawyer finding the passion and courage to fight for his community against the scourge of racism that refuses to go away.

Historically-speaking, Just Mercy is an essential film if we’re to continue to believe that equal justice under the law is still important in America. First, consider the death penalty. The film makes a strong case for abolishing it because it’s immoral to execute an innocent person and you can’t undo an execution of said innocent person. It’s also an indictment on the way prosecutors then and today chase after conviction, rather than justice. Prosecutors, as portrayed, are more interested in convicting anyone for a crime versus convicting the actual perpetrator, and how the rush to judgment is unfairly targeted minority communities.

“…a lot of great actors on display and put together it feels like an A-List repertory company…”

Where I’m torn is Just Mercy is not a new story. On its own, a good movie, but stacked next to To Kill a Mockingbird, A Time to Kill, The Green Mile, and as of late Marshall and Brian Banks, Just Mercy won’t stand out from the pack. The innocent man on death row…done before. Conducting an execution as a plot point…done before. Exonerating the innocent…done before. In the end, Just Mercy captures Bryan Stevenson’s story for posterity’s sake. We shall never forget.

But down the road, Just Mercy may not be remembered as the “go-to” movie about racial injustice. There is one difference that will set it apart from the others, like Marshall, the white guy is not the one coming to the rescue. Ultimately, in the end, Just Mercy is good, not great. Either way, if you’re looking for good acting addressing social justice issues, Just Mercy is in theaters now and worth checking out.

Just Mercy (2019)

Directed: Destin Daniel Cretton

Written: Destin Daniel Cretton, Andrew Lanham

Starring: Brie Larson, Jamie Foxx, Michael B. Jordan, etc.

Movie score: 7.5/10

Just Mercy Image

"…an essential film if we’re to continue to believe that equal justice under the law is still important..."

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  1. […] “‘Just Mercy’ captures Bryan Stevenson’s story for posterity’s sake. We shall never forget,” wrote Alan Ng of Film Threat. […]

  2. […] “‘Just Mercy’ captures Bryan Stevenson’s story for posterity’s sake. We shall never forget,” wrote Alan Ng of Film Threat. […]

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