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Just Mercy

This is an adaptation of one of the most inspiring books I have read recently by the same name. Bryan Stevenson is a lawyer in Alabama who has spent his entire career helping get people released from death row who have been wrongfully convicted. The film focuses mostly on the story of Walter McMillan (Jamie Foxx), who was arrested for a murder of a white 18-year-old woman. The film follows Stevenson (played very well and convincingly by Michael B. Jordan) and his journey to get McMillan free. I liked the film; the story is incredibly compelling and provides some real insight into the racism that exists in the prison and judicial systems in Alabama. The acting is solid, and while sometimes it gets a bit “preachy”, the overall story is a faithful adaption of the original book. It is hard to put all of what Stevenson has done into one film; for those who are not familiar with his work, the movie serves as a great introduction to someone who is really doing and making social change. This is another film that I think would have worked better as a documentary but thumbs up for a film that uses wonderful actors and a sound screenplay to explore a very troubling issue. If you have read Stevenson’s book, the movie won’t add much, however. (2019; 3.5 Stars)

About Gary Burkholder

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