REVIEW: Just Mercy (2019)
This hidden gem about the life of defence attorney Bryan Stevenson provides further evidence that Michael B. Jordan is one of the best actors working today. After the success of the Creed movies, it's easy to see the former Wire actor as little more than a hulking piece of eye candy. But Just Mercy shows that Jordan has serious acting chops, so much so that it's surprising he's been snubbed on the awards front.
Credit must also go to director Destin Daniel Creton and his co-writer Andrew Lanham, who never allow the emotional potency of the story to overwhelm proceedings. Just Mercy remains a well balanced affair throughout, presenting cold hard facts and nothing else.
Creton is aided by an incredible cast. As said, Jordan is in fine fettle as the incredibly admirable Stevenson. But he is matched by the indefatigable Jamie Foxx, who gives a beautiful performance as the wrongly convicted Walter 'Johnny D' McMillan. The latter's story is a sadly familiar one, laying bare the racial inequality which continues to divide the American south.
Though the events of Just Mercy occurred in the late Eighties, it feels like a timely tale. It's important that brave and decent people like Stevenson have their stories told and that filmmakers continue to educate audiences on the complexities of both the civil rights movement and legal system. When great actors are combined with essential narratives such as this, it makes for great cinema and Just Mercy is no exception to that rule.