Just Mercy is the true story of a man in Alabama, Jamie Foxx as Walter McMillian, who is sitting on death row for a crime he didn’t commit. While Foxx has a big part of this heart-wrenching drama, it’s Michael B. Jordan, as civil rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson, who is the star of the movie. The movie is about the early career of Stevenson, a Harvard graduate, who moves to Alabama and begins a law practice to get innocent men off of death row.
Stevenson faces a corrupt and racist system everywhere he turns. He fights for justice for Walter and two other condemned men. One is a Vietnam vet, Rob Morgan, who should be in a mental hospital, not on death row and another convicted killer, O’Shea Jackson Jr., whose only crime appears to be that he is black. Still, he presses on trying to uncover the truth and give the men a new trial that could exonerate them from their sentences.
The performances are moving, especially when one of the men gets his execution carried out. His march to the electric chair may have you shedding a tear or two. Rob Morgan’s performance is powerful.
With Foxx’s character, Walter McMillian, you feel the frustration and the sadness with the racist system that has false testimony and no physical evidence stacked up against him but the local Alabama court refuses to give him a fair trial. It’s only after an appearance on 60 Minutes and a hearing in a higher court that Walter finally gets a fair trial.
Just Mercy shows the racism that was still very much alive in Alabama in the late ’80s. While it is a true story at the beginning of famed civil rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson’s career, it’s hard to believe such injustice was still occurring in the deep south at that time. The movie will really stir your emotions.
Just Mercy is rated PG-13 and runs a little bit long at 2 hours and 16 minutes, but on my “Hollywood Popcorn Scale,” I rate the movie a JUMBO.