Just Mercy review round-up: 'An effectively straightforward and potent drama' that is a tad too long

FP Staff

Sep 07, 2019 12:43:48 IST

Michael B Jordan, Jamie Foxx, and Brie Larson's courtroom drama Just Mercy had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on 6 September. Thus, the critics reviews' have also started rolling in.

Just Mercy is based on the case of Walter McMillan, an African-American death-row prisoner who was exonerated in 1993 after being convicted for a 1986 murder in Alabama. Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, took on McMillan's case in 1988 which was his first case as an attorney.

 Just Mercy review round-up: An effectively straightforward and potent drama that is a tad too long

A still from Just Mercy trailer. Twitter

Here are what the critics are saying about Just Mercy

Variety: "At two hours and 16 minutes, Just Mercy is long for a film of this sort, and there are moments you wish it were shorter. Yet if the cycle of courtroom battles at the end spins around facts we already know, what’s unpredictable is the human factor. The movie builds to a stirring resolution, based on the certainty that hatred, in all its terrible power, will never be as powerful as justice."

IndieWire: "Stevenson’s investigation doesn’t contain nearly enough twists to justify the 136-minute runtime, especially given how many of its circumstances are predetermined. But (Daniel, director) Cretton does manage to squeeze in a remarkable subplot that practically functions as a standalone movie, exploring the bonds that McMillian forms with two other men on death row."

The Hollywood Reporter: "A couple of Foxx's scenes are transfixing enough to make you hold your breath without realizing it. The big courtroom moments the film constructs for Stevenson, by contrast, sound like prepackaged American idealism. That's not to deny that every thing he says is 100% true; but speeches don't always make for great movies, even in courtrooms where they beg to be delivered."

The Wrap: "If you’re looking for an early favorite for the audience award at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, you might want to start with Destin Daniel Cretton’s Just Mercy, an effectively straightforward and potent drama about racism and justice."

ScreenDaily: "This is a message movie, and as such, it doesn’t mince words. The courtroom speeches are stirring, which is fortunate because there are a lot of them. And the film is equally unflinching in what it shows us."

Updated Date: Sep 07, 2019 12:56:11 IST