Criminal Justice

Just Mercy


Fairly early in Just Mercy, an employee of the Monroeville, Alabama, district attorney's office encourages a young lawyer played by Michael B. Jordan to visit the nearby To Kill a Mockingbird museum. It's housed in the courthouse where Harper Lee's father worked, the assistant explains; you can see the place where Atticus Finch once stood. The sly joke, of course, is that Finch is a fictional character.

Not so with this movie's protagonist. Bryan Stevenson really is a Harvard Law graduate who moved to the Deep South in 1989 to represent impoverished death row inmates. He really did found a practice called the Equal Justice Initiative, which has won relief for hundreds of wrongly convicted and unfairly sentenced prisoners—beginning with Walter McMillian, played by Jamie Foxx, an innocent black man who really was framed by local authorities for the murder of a young white woman.

The film is based on Stevenson's autobiography of the same name. If its storytelling suffers for depicting an uncomplicatedly righteous protagonist, it's likely because director Destin Daniel Cretton rejected manufactured drama in favor of fidelity to the source material—the true story of a good man.

NEXT: Uncanny Valley

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. At one time I was in favor of the death penalty. Over time there was just too many people who were innocent for me to support it. And with all the shading dealing and actions of cops and D.A,s that get exposed regularly now I don’t see how anyone can these days.

    1. I was never in support of the death penalty, but it didn’t bother me too much either; just scumbags who contribute nothing to society. Then one of the Illinois governors commuted all death row prisoners to life without parole because (I’m certain I have the absolute numbers wrong) in one year, 25 people had left death row — 12 by being executed, and 13 exonerated due to being framed by cops, sheriffs, prosecutors, and corrupt witnesses. And once someones been executed, all further push for exoneration stops, which made me wonder how many of the 12 executed were also innocent?

      No doubt most of the exonerated were also scumbags for whom plausible deniability was implausible; easy to frame. But it really pissed me off, not so much for a lesser scumbag being treated like a full-blown scumbag, but that those damned cops, sheriffs, prosecutors, judges, and juries didn’t give a rat’s ass that the real murderers were still at large.

  2. Change Your Life Right Now! Work From Comfort Of Your Home And Receive Your First Paycheck Within A Week. No Experience Needed, No Boss Over Your Shoulder… FC,Say Goodbye To Your Old Job! Limited Number Of Spots Open…
    Find out how HERE……More here

  3. I suspect that the aliens tuning into our entertainment media in the interest of learning about humanity in general will come away with the impression that African Americans are invariably athletes or in prison, and sometimes both. Why can’t they stop making movies like this? It’s not empowering.

  4. Is this at theaters or is it being streamed?

  5. I have not found this movie in online TV. Will this movie be released online?
    Connect with Mobdro:

  6. The best movie I’ve ever seen about death penalty.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.