“When its your turn they ain’t gotta have no fingerprints”
- Title: Just Mercy
- Director: Destin Daniel Cretton
- Release date: 10th January 2020
Bringing the unjust experience of Walter McMillian to life, Just Mercy is inspired in its portrayal of the corruption of the American justice system.
128 years after the abolition of slavery, 123 years after the implementation of the Naturalization Act and 29 years after the Civil Rights Act, Just Mercy brings to light one of many wrongful convictions that have occurred in US history. Although stories such as this have been told through many films such as To Kill A Mockingbird, The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption, Just Mercy differs in the fact that this conviction happened such a short while ago. The cinematography reflects a world which takes you back to the 19th century “Old South”, yet the story begins in 1986, only 34 years ago. If nothing else, this film will encourage you to reflect upon the issues of a system in which so many place their faith in.
Based upon the book ‘Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption’ written by lawyer and social justice activist Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy brings the story of Walter McMillian to the big screen. Wrongfully convicted of the murder of 18-year-old Ronda Morrison, Walter, known as ‘Johnnie D’ by his close friends and family, fights for his ruling to be overturned with the help of lawyer Bryan Stevenson and the Equal Justice Initiative.
As well as the authenticity that was reflected by this true story, choosing to cast established actors such as Michael B. Jordan, O’Shea Jackson Jr and Jamie Foxx was a smart move by director Destin Daniel Cretton as it brought immense audience attention to an unknown story, allowing people to realise how close to home this issue is. The film’s portrayal of the American South was class, the abundance of establishing shots of the southern plains aided by the gospel soundtrack made for a wonderful depiction of the South as its authenticity drove the premise of the film.
A further mention should be given to Rob Morgan who played the character of ‘Herb’ (a death row inmate suffering from PTSD). How he embodied this character was a stroke of genius!
My concluding thoughts on Just Mercy is that it is a heartfelt film that tells the haunting story of a wrongful conviction. Although not packed with Oscar-winning acting performances, the depths of this story which occurred only 34 years ago aided with its sublime cinematography is what makes Just Mercy such a highly-rated watch.