Moderator / Reviewer
- Apr 4, 2017
My AV System
- Preamp, Processor or Receiver
- Yamaha TRS-7850 Atmos Receiver
- Other Amp
- Peavy IPR 3000 for subs
- Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
- Sony ubx800 4K UHD Player
- Front Speakers
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- Surround Speakers
- Volt 10 Surrounds
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- 2x Marty subs (full size with SI 18's)
- Video Display Device
- JVC RS-46 Projector
- Draper Cineperm M1300 119 inch Static Screen
Warner Provides The Blu-ray disc for this review
Warner Provides The Blu-ray disc for this review
Coming from a law enforcement family with members of immediate and extended family being in said occupation, I grew up with a strong sense of justice built into my core upbringing. However, I’ll never forget one said individual who took me aside when I was going on about the need for harsher punishments and quietly said “I would rather ten guilty men go free for a crime they committed, than have one innocent man convicted to death for a crime he didn’t commit”. At the time I didn’t understand what he was talking about, but as I got older and saw more of life I think I slowly began to understand what he was talking about. He wasn’t saying that we should just blithely look over obvious crimes and their necessary punishments, nor was he saying we shouldn’t have the right to execute something for doing something incredibly heinous to other people. What he was talking about was the weight and gravitas contemplation that should go into something so serious and permanent as ending another person’s life. Especially when you consider that every 1 in 9 (or one in ten depending on the study) death row inmate has been found to be innocent (either years later after their death, or before), which is a startling amount of error. A few percentage points in most statistics would consider that a decent margin of error, let alone nearly 10%. The meaning of that phrase sinks in and I think that we need to be sure beyond a shadow of a doubt before sentencing someone to death for a crime, otherwise erring on the side of caution when playing with another human's life is the more honest and justified approach to that method of punishment.
Just Mercy deals exactly with that issue of clarity and undeniable evidence as pulled from the memoirs of one Bryan Stevenson (portrayed here by Michael B. Jordan) Bryan was a young boy from the bad end of town who got into law to help people, but upon visiting a death row inmate during an internship he realized that he wanted to devote his life to seeking justice for wrongfully accused death row inmates. Inmates who could spend 30 years or MORE just waiting for their punishment to be handed down and their day in the electric chair to come. Heading down to Alabama where he feels he can do the most good, Bryan runs across an inmate by the name of Walter McMillan (e.g., Johnnie D, played by Jamie Foxx) who has a striking story to tell. He was convicted for a crime he said he didn’t commit, and the only evidence they could even reasonably find was the testimony of a convicted felon. Digging deeper into the case Bryan discovers that more than just evidence is keeping Johnnie D here, but the old fashioned bigotry and laziness of a small town court and sheriff’s department that will do anything to keep their names from being dragged through the mud from a wrongful conviction. Seeking a retrial, the young lawyer is in for the fight of his career, as every step of the judiciary process is stymied by those in power, and the only hope this wrongfully convicted man has is a lawyer who doesn’t put the almighty dollar as his reason to fight, and refuses to give up.
I really wish that we had more backstory and character development for the main character himself. Jamie Foxx turns in a fantastic and powerful performance as the beleaguered and worn down death row inmate, but his story plays second fiddle to the investigation, and I think some more time spent with him would have been beneficial to attaching the audience onto his side instead of trying to completely demonize the opposition as the story does. Michael B. Jordan also turns in a near flawless performance as the green behind the ears lawyer with aspirations of greatness (that he sometimes achieves in the 2+ hour film, and sometimes fails at). It’s a good movie even though it has a few made for TV quirks about it that keeps it from being a truly excellent film.
Rated PG-13 for thematic content including some racial epithets.
• This Moment Deserves
• The Equal Justice Initiative
• Deleted Scenes
Just Mercy is a solid court room drama with a good message at it’s core. It’s a fairly down to earth presentation of a true life story that deserves to be told, and has some solid re-watch capability as well. It sadly didn’t do too hot at the box office last year, but the home video release is more than appealing with great video and a finely tuned Atmos track that actually surprised me more than I was expecting. Extras are a bit slim, but I highly recommend checking out Bryan Stevenson’s memoirs if you don’t get around to seeing the film, as it’s a fascinating read. Recommended for a watch.
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Michael B. Jordan, Charlie Pye Jr., Brie Larson, Michael Harding, Adam Boyer, J. Alphonse Nicholson
Directed by: Destin Daniel Cretton
Written by: Destin Daniel Cretton, Andrew Lanham, Bryan Stevenson (based on the book by)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Core), English, French, Spanish DD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish
Studio: Warner Brothers
Runtime: 136 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: Own Just Mercy on Blu-ray and DVD on April 14 and Digital on March 24.
Recommendation: Recommended For a Good Watch