I watched Just Mercy this weekend. I feel like we’ve seen various versions of this story already on film. And yet, it’s based on a true story, and the story should be told and absorbed. I enjoy watching movies like this a lot.
In terms of actual nuts and bolts filmmaking, it’s nothing extraordinary. But I appreciated a few of the scenes a lot.
Spoilers: Using the opening scene as a call-back for calming down his friend was really good. In fact, the whole execution scene was just really well handled, and is probably one of two emotional centers of the movie.
The other emotional center is the judge’s verdict, where he denies the motion for a new trial. It’s just a gut-punch, and the sense of injustice is so strong. It honestly caught me completely off-guard. I didn’t expect that, and suddenly the movie went from being a feel-good movie into a tragedy.
And it fit! It fit really well as a tragedy in that moment. It made sense as a tragedy. Even though the movie has a happy ending, emotionally I feel like that’s where the movie really ended: with that denial of a new trial.