Just Mercy

Just Mercy

2020, PG-13, 130 min. Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton. Starring Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Brie Larson, Rafe Spall, Tim Blake Nelson, Rob Morgan, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Karan Kendrick, Darrell Britt-Gibson.

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., Jan. 10, 2020

This solid if predictable courtroom drama is elevated by a terrific cast and impassioned subject matter. Just Mercy stars Michael B. Jordan as Bryan Stevenson, a newly degreed lawyer fresh out of Harvard Law in 1989, who moves to Monroeville, Ala., to found the Equal Justice Initiative and provide pro bono legal representation to death row inmates in a state where no prisoners had ever been freed from that sentence. It’s a true-life story based on Stevenson’s book and focuses on one of the first cases the new lawyer brought to trial, that of Walter McMillian (played by Jamie Foxx, who delivers some of his best work since Ray).

McMillian, widely known as Johnnie D, was a Black man who was wrongly convicted of murdering a young white woman. With no evidence and false testimonies, the case against McMillian was flimsy at best. But that proved no obstacle in the racist Southern climate in which he was tried. (In a wry nod to the racism that lingers, the self-satisfied white citizens in Monroeville are always quick to point out to Stevenson that theirs was the town where Harper Lee wrote To Kill a Mockingbird – as if that absolved them from any possibility of bigotry and racial injustice.) McMillian’s plight is amplified by that of two other inmates: Herbert Richardson (Morgan, who is phenomenal), a veteran whose PTSD triggered the murder he committed, and Anthony Ray Hinton (Jackson Jr.), another wrongly convicted death row inmate. Brie Larson (who starred in director Destin Daniel Cretton’s breakthrough movie Short Term 12), is underused here as the local cohort who helps Stevenson get the Equal Justice Initiative up and running in a town where no building owner is willing to rent them space.

Cretton’s filmmaking technique is straightforward, but his lack of frills allows the viewer to soak in the emotions of every situation. A Black man himself, Stevenson is also a frequent victim of the region’s tacit and overt racism. Yet the film’s sense of injustice is so strong and colorblind, that any viewer will be challenged to shake off the feeling of “it could’ve been me.” Death row is pictured as merely a more technologically sophisticated way of lynching a Black man. Still, the film goes through its process of filing briefs, interviewing witnesses, and jailhouse visits. There’s little that hasn’t been seen before in legal procedurals, yet Just Mercy scores as an emotionally righteous ride. (And as a meta-film side note: What a kick it is to see Erik Killmonger and Captain Marvel joining forces to battle American racial injustice.)

Showtimes

Tue., Jan. 28

2:55, 6:10
AFA 11:25am

Wed., Jan. 29

11:50am, 3:20, 6:40, 10:00

AMC Dine-In Tech Ridge 10

12625 N. I-35, 512/640-1533, www.amctheatres.com

Tue., Jan. 28

CC/DVS 4:30, 7:30

Wed., Jan. 29

CC/DVS 4:30, 7:30

Arbor Cinema @ Great Hills

9828 Great Hills Trail, 512/231-9742

Discounts daily before 6pm.

Tue., Jan. 28

CC/DVS 10:00am, 12:00, 3:00, 6:10, 9:15

Wed., Jan. 29

CC/DVS 12:00, 3:00, 6:10, 9:15

Thu., Jan. 30

CC/DVS 12:00, 3:00, 6:10, 9:15

Barton Creek Square (AMC)

2901 South Capital of Texas Hwy, 512/306-1991, www.amctheatres.com

Matinee discounts available before 4pm daily. Bring Your Baby matinees the first Tuesday of every month.

Tue., Jan. 28

CC/DVS 3:10, 6:30

Wed., Jan. 29

CC/DVS 3:10, 6:30

Cinemark 20 and XD

N. I-35 & FM 1825, 512/989-8535

Cost for 3-D and XD shows is regular ticket price plus a premium.

Tue., Jan. 28

digital 1:00, 4:15, 7:30, 10:45

Wed., Jan. 29

digital 1:00, 4:15, 7:30, 10:45

Cinemark Cedar Park

1335 E. Whitestone, Cedar Park, 800/326-3264

Call theatre for complete list of movies and showtimes.

Tue., Jan. 28

digital 11:50am, 3:10, 6:30, 9:50

Wed., Jan. 29

digital 11:50am, 3:10, 6:30, 9:50

Tue., Jan. 28

digital 11:35am, 2:50, 6:10, 9:25

Wed., Jan. 29

digital 11:35am, 2:50, 6:10, 9:25

Cinemark Round Rock

4401 N. I-35, Round Rock, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium. Call theatre for complete March 26-28 showtimes.

Tue., Jan. 28

digital 12:25, 3:50, 7:15, 10:30

Wed., Jan. 29

digital 12:25, 3:50, 7:15, 10:30

Cinemark Southpark Meadows

9900 S. I-35, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Tue., Jan. 28

digital 11:20am, 2:50, 6:35, 9:55

Wed., Jan. 29

digital 11:20am, 2:50, 6:35, 9:55

Cinemark Stone Hill Town Center

18820 Hilltop Commercial Dr., 512/251-0938, www.cinemark.com

Tue., Jan. 28

digital 12:30, 4:00, 7:30

Wed., Jan. 29

digital 12:30, 4:00, 7:30

City Lights Theatre

420 Wolf Ranch Parkway, Georgetown, 512/868-9922

Tue., Jan. 28

12:35, 3:50, 7:10, 10:30

Wed., Jan. 29

12:35, 3:50, 7:10, 10:30

EVO Entertainment

3200 Kyle Crossing, Kyle, 512/523-9009, www.evo-entertainment.com

Tue., Jan. 28

9:55am, 1:10, 4:25, 7:30, 10:30

Wed., Jan. 29

10:00am, 1:15, 4:30

Galaxy Highland 10

6700 Middle Fiskville, 512/467-7305, www.galaxytheatres.com

No one under 18 will be allowed in the theatre on Friday or Saturday after 7pm without an adult.

Tue., Jan. 28

CC 11:20am, 2:50, 6:30, 9:50

Wed., Jan. 29

CC 10:00am, 1:30, 4:45, 8:00, 11:00

Thu., Jan. 30

CC 10:00am, 1:30, 4:45, 8:00, 11:00

iPic Theaters Austin

3225 Amy Donovan Plaza, 512/568-3400, www.ipic.com

Tue., Jan. 28

11:25am, 2:25, 2:45, 6:00, 9:30

Wed., Jan. 29

11:25am, 2:25, 2:45, 6:00, 9:30

AMC Lakeline 9

11200 Lakeline Mall Dr., Cedar Park, 512/335-4793

Discounts daily before 6pm.

Tue., Jan. 28

CC/DVS 12:45, 4:00, 7:15

Wed., Jan. 29

CC/DVS 12:45, 4:00, 7:15

Moviehouse & Eatery

8300 N. FM 620, Bldg. B, 512/501-3520, www.themoviehouse.com/trails/

Tue., Jan. 28

11:00am, 2:30, 6:00, 9:35

Wed., Jan. 29

10:45am, 2:30, 6:00, 10:35

Thu., Jan. 30

11:00am, 2:30

Moviehouse & Eatery - Lantana Place

7415 Southwest Parkway, Building 7, 512/572-0770, www.themoviehouse.com/lantana/

Tue., Jan. 28

11:40am, 3:25, 7:00, 10:30

Wed., Jan. 29

11:40am, 3:25, 7:00, 10:30

Schulman Theatres Lost Pines 8

1600 Chestnut St, Bastrop, 512/321-0123, www.schulmantheatres.com

Tue., Jan. 28

10:40am, 2:30, 7:00, 10:25

Wed., Jan. 29

10:40am, 2:30, 7:00, 10:25

ShowBiz Cinemas 8 Marble Falls

2600 Hwy 281 North, Marble Falls

Call theatre for August 22-23 showtimes.

Tue., Jan. 28

1:10, 4:15, 6:50

Wed., Jan. 29

1:10, 4:15, 6:50

Thu., Jan. 30

1:10, 4:15

Sky Cinemas

13201 US-290, 512/457-0700, www.skycinemas.com

Tue., Jan. 28

12:10, 3:10, 6:10, 10:15

Wed., Jan. 29

12:10, 3:10, 6:10, 10:15

Thu., Jan. 30

12:10, 3:10, 6:10, 10:15

Starplex 12 San Marcos

1250 Wonder World Drive, San Marcos, 512/805-8000

Tue., Jan. 28

10:45am, 1:45, 4:45, 7:45, 10:45

Wed., Jan. 29

10:45am, 1:45, 4:45, 7:45, 10:45

Thu., Jan. 30

10:45am, 1:45, 4:45, 7:45, 10:45

Westgate 11

4477 S. Lamar, 512/899-2717

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Tue., Jan. 28

CC/DVS 11:30am, 2:45, 6:00, 9:20

Wed., Jan. 29

CC/DVS 11:30am, 2:45, 6:00, 9:20

Thu., Jan. 30

CC/DVS 11:30am, 2:45, 6:00, 9:20

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Just Mercy, Destin Daniel Cretton, Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Brie Larson, Rafe Spall, Tim Blake Nelson, Rob Morgan, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Karan Kendrick, Darrell Britt-Gibson

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