Complete A-Z list

Just Mercy  (DVD)


Stars: Michael B Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Brie Larson, Tim Blake Nelson, O'Shea Jackson Jr, Rafe Spall, Dominic Bogart, Rob Morgan

Director: Destin Daniel Cretton

In the past few months, we seem to have been deluged with films that are up to half an hour too long. But here's one whose impact is actually muted by its own length. It's yet another true story (lots of those recently, too) about an appalling miscarriage of justice that took years to put right.

So there's a good basis here, even though you may find your eyelids drooping occasionally in the story's telling.

Black logger Walter McMillan (Foxx), known as Johnnie D, is railroaded into a murder conviction (by an all-white jury) and faces the electric chair, until a young Harvard lawyer, Bryan Stevenson (Jordan), takes up roots in America's Deep South, starts an 'equal justice' initiative, and becomes interested in Walter's case.

The rest of the film treads a predictable path and, although Jordan and Foxx are both reliably good, conversations between Death Row inmates prove rather dull, quite apart from getting in the way of the core drama.

NB: There is no swearing in this film. Not complaining, just seems rather strange.

David Quinlan

USA 2019. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Colour (unspecified).
131 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 19 May 2020