Just Mercy: a well-intentioned courtroom drama

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With Just Mercy director Destin Daniel Cretton delivers a well-intentioned courtroom drama, but it lacks sufficient relief.

It is beyond all doubt that the merits of Bryan Stevenson deserve to be praised in a film. In the 1980s, this American lawyer founded the Equal Justice Initiative to assist people who could not afford expensive legal representation. He prevented the executions of about 125 condemned convicts. The courtroom drama focuses on one of his first great legal victories. He exonerated Walter McMillian, who had spent more than six years on death row. There was a good reason because McMillian had nothing to do with the sensational murder of an 18-year-old white girl. The only problem was that the Alabama court refused to recognize that.

The exposition of the legal battle makes clear how systemic racism does really mean that not every American is equal before the law. With Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther, Creed) and Jamie Foxx (Ray, Miami Vice), big names took on the two starring roles. Unfortunately, director Destin Daniel Cretton steers clear of every risk and forgets that characters without any flaws make for boring movies. His well-intentioned and welcome courtroom drama lacks sufficient relief.

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