It’s expensive to start as a filmmaker, especially if you do something that is later declared a classic or revelation, or another cliché that comes to mind. After all, the greatest tendency is to compare all the director’s later actions with his beginning. If the pole is placed high, there are only two ways to cross it: You lift it up or you go under a limbo booth. And it’s not even a question of why that should be, when you work in such a competitive environment, where you always have to prove yourself to everyone to get that good confirmation. That’s how the industry works. However, some people don’t care whether they set the bar high or not. They make a fuss because they are their only source of life, and you have no choice but to keep working, to stay excited.
In the case of Destiny Daniel Cretton, whom everyone probably knows from his first film Short Term 12, a strong story about a woman in charge of running an institution for troubled teenagers – one would think he would be the victim of those whose careers were widely interrupted after his debut. After Short-Term 12 his work, although not as strong or haunting as his basic work, still says a lot about the director’s impressive work. Just Mercy may be far from perfect, but it is a sincere representation of the importance of mandatory legal representation in a world where everyone is broken and torn apart, and all we need is compassion or, for lack of a better term, pity.
Like every underrepresented person in the world, Walter Johnny D. McMillian (Jamie Fox) was dragged into a bottomless pit when he was falsely tried for murder and sentenced to death. The judiciary should have sided with him for lack of good grounds and material evidence that could have proved his guilt without any doubt, but the fact is that he is a minority, and this at a time when racial segregation is still noticeable among the masses of white and racist America. The challenge was then taken up by a Harvard Law School graduate named Brian Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan), who took on the defense of under-represented people, particularly those of color, not only by founding the Equal Justice initiative, but also by taking on the role of the McMillian suspect against the racist prosecutor Monroeville.
The film uses body language as a means to peel off the layers of elasticity and endurance to which these figures are exposed. Stevenson and MacMillian are both part of a fringe group whose personality is always determined by the colour of their skin. They were both incarcerated in a prison cell, one physical, the other literary. While they’re locked in their respective fireworks, there’s anger. There’s anger. There’s anger. These symbols feel like time bombs, which can explode at any time after they have been activated or placed. The fight that everyone can see. Cretton shows understanding for the material on which the film is based and shows the people who came to see Just Mercy with the heroes on their cruel and painful road to justice and, most likely, the Stevenson movement’s determination to ensure equal rights and opportunities for those, like McMillian, who have been forced to accept their role in society.
It’s just that Mercy follows the stereotype of the courtroom drama. The case is presented, and the case slowly dissolves from the end. As the case progresses, the perspective of each character is taken into account and given due attention. It is clear that there is drama and conflict when heroes are confronted with their own demons. The company grows and the drama escalates to a certain point. The characters are perceived all the more as their perspectives begin to twist and turn at certain moments. The case reaches its peak until the end with the expected or unexpected result. Many people believe that these procedures are equated with the shortcomings of cinema, since the film is no more than the plot, which has been seen and discussed in numerous television series, anthologies of dramatic works and film exhibitions around the world. At the same time, adding new compositional characters or creating new plots for fun blurs the essential task of the film: to tell the story of the past, which will be visible and audible for the future generation. There is a certain awareness that the film understands from beginning to end and remains true to what it says, without opting for cheap thrills. The cameramen are eager to see these disturbing discoveries about racial discrimination in America sink into ignorance and boredom.
The film does not hesitate to present their point of view, but lets you relive the experiences of these heroes. This means that in the eyes of the African Americans who lived in the country they entered, the United States does not like the idea of unity, that they dig through the dustbin and do not deserve any chance to prove their worth. Without a fair trial and fair trade, men and women with the same skin color as African-Americans would have to be burned at the stake in hell that most whites have knowingly created. But the heroes themselves kept their courage in the face of adversity. They held back all the anger, fear, and doubt as they endured every storm that might come their way. And it wasn’t just McMillian and Stevenson who had the courage to fight for what’s true and what’s not. With them are McMillian’s cellmates, the McMillian family and even Stevenson’s partner in the Equal Justice Initiative, Eva Ensley (Bree Larson). Suction is the only thing they can do, but accept their fate. In their minds, death is not an option. Injustice is not an option. Inequality is not an option. Failure is not an option.
Maybe Just Mercy can be blamed for telling the story so deviously. The film, which lasts more than 2 hours, is slowed down at certain moments and loses its grip on the viewer by telling his story. And even though the book is based on Brian Stevenson’s own memories, for the most part the film only emphasizes the above mentioned character and doesn’t show his other characters in depth, even though he’s not weightless. For a film that serves as a sincere critique of racism in American history, but also of the biased criminal justice system that views convicts without compassion or justice, the film becomes a story about Stevenson’s heroism and the difficulties he encountered at the height of his career. And while it’s not a bad thing for the jury, the film’s main argument fades somewhere along the road to success.
Just Mercy is an example of the importance of cinema in opening the minds and hearts of everyone in the world. The human plot of the film, which is based on convincing performances, delivers a blow that will undoubtedly hurt the heart of every human being. It is a powerful and destructive exercise and at the same time a real exercise in empathy. Like the characters that people will come to see and appreciate, the film defied gravity and overcame barriers that seemed impossible. It’s a terribly painful watch, but the victory is still over the finish line. At the end of a rainbow there is always a pot of gold, and at the end of a blizzard there is always a ray of sunshine. To quote Kill Mockingbird Harper Lee: You rarely win, but sometimes you do. And if you win, victory is sweet.
The Simple Mercy hits, distributed by Warner Brothers Pictures, will be voted on Wednesday 22 November. January, Ayala Malls theaters.
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