The legal system is not a kind, friendly or fair one for people of colour. If you are also poor then…ouff! You are definitely up poop’s creek without a paddle. The legal system is not often a place of truth, rather, like the rest of the world, one of power and money.
Young lawyer Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan – Black Panther, Creed) is looking to balance the scales of justice in his small part of the United States. The career path he chose was a surprise to many as this Harvard law graduate could have worked at any number of high profile law firms and made a ton of money. That is not what Bryan was interested in though.
He travels to rural Alabama and begins to defend those wrongly convicted. In this end he is aided by local advocate, Eva Ansley (Brie Larson – Room, Captain Marvel). The two make a good team – one that never gives up.
One of the first cases he takes on is that of Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx – Ray, Django: Unchained). He is African-American and on death row for the murder of an 18-year-old girl. Walter was found guilty despite the dirth of evidence against him and that the main testimony came from a criminal who had reason to lie.
In his fight to overturn Walter’s conviction, Bryan soon sees that justice isn’t blind, rather it is racist and stacked against those without power. His quest for the truth goes on for years, but Bryan and Eva will not give up on their client.
Based on a true story and a real man in Bryan Stevenson, the film is as powerful as this man’s conviction. Destin Daniel Cretton’s (I Am Not a Hipster, The Glass Castle) film does both – Bryan and true justice – proud.
Though we have all seen multiple versions of this type of story (dedicated person fights for the wronged) there should be no limit on the amount of films made which are both moving and thought-provoking. This one will poke and prod at both your heart and your mind.
Despite the fact that the film is rather predictable in that you basically know how it is going go, it is still engaging. A lot of that has to do with the acting. All Foxx, Jordan and Larson are highly watchable here. For Foxx, this is his best since films like Ray and Collateral. It has been a while, but our patience has paid off.
Stay tuned for the credits at the end as they tell you where many of the characters are today.
- Making ‘Mercy’
- This Moment Deserves
- The Equal Justice Initiative
- Deleted Scenes