Rod and Justin review the Micheal B Jordan legal drama, “Just Mercy.”
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01/15/2020 at 8:26 PM
Hello Rod and Justin,
I loved Just Mercy as much as you can love a film this depressing and steeped in racial and class violence. I agree that this film had some serious acting on display. I really liked the inclusion of the veteran who was guilty of the crime he was convicted of. It is so easy to find the innocent man to garner sympathy, it is hard to show that a guilty person still has value as a human life worth saving, I appreciated the happy endings for Jamie Fox and Baby Ice Cube’s characters and the caveat that reminded us that freedom didn’t necessarily make Jamie Foxx’s character free.
I get Justin saying the movie was too long and thinking the scene where Michael B. Jordan’s Character met all the inmates looking for help needed to be cut. I agree in theory, but think this scene was there to drive home how many potentially innocent people are on death row, and to let the whites know that not all of those people are black.
01/15/2020 at 9:32 AM
Thanks for mentioning Montgomery ProfKori! I haven’t gotten to see the movie yet either, but it’s on my list. I came to correct Rod because he kept saying Mississippi. But it takes place here in Montgomery and it was a really big deal for the city and state. My old professor Dr. Tonea Stewart is in it and worked to get ASU students background work in the film.
The Equal Just Initiative is behind the Legacy Museum that shows the connection between slavery, lynching, the school to prison pipeline and industrialized prison complex. The Lynching memorial is amazing and a bit further away. They are both extremely well done and a huge moment for the city.
Yes Rod! If you and Karen want to come to Montgomery on a Black Trauma tour (It’s what I jokingly call the shift in Montgomery to turn black trauma into tourism pulls. It’s important but it also makes me sad. Which isn’t bad because a lot of black people are creating businesses around it!) I’d love to show y’all around! Or take you out to dinner.
While listening to your review every time you said Mississippi, in my head I said “Ok Alabama is racist but we’re not Mississippi racist!”
I’m looking forward to seeing this film. I’ll bring my tissues. Thank you for the review!
01/13/2020 at 12:39 AM
Thanks for reviewing JUST MERCY so soon after its theater release. I was at a conference opening weekend, so I’ll have to see it later. I’m glad to hear they nailed the acting. I believe Bryan Stevenson’s book came out in 2014, but I didn’t read it until 2016. Then, I got to re-read it and discuss it with OSU students before he visited campus in 2017. It sounds like this film is very faithful to the book. Stevenson definitely draws you in with his journey, but he represents his journey as being all about the people he’s helping. He drives home the point that they deserve better. And he makes clear that a commitment to do better must be made (and acted upon) by those of us who aren’t labeled “criminal” and thereby stripped of rights and resources. It also makes sense that romance was left out, and I can see how that’s a unique choice on screen. Stevenson does an extraordinary job of keeping his personal/love/romantic life OUT of the public. It’s kind of genius how much ambiguity he keeps around that. I’m looking forward to seeing it, so I also appreciate the warning about how emotional it is.
01/13/2020 at 12:46 AM
The other reason I follow Stevenson’s work so much is that his Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) is behind the museum and memorial acknowledging lynching and racial violence that opened in Montgomery, Alabama. Both sites are so well done. I think they’ve been incredibly responsible in how they approach everything in both the memorial and the museum. I know you and Karen talked about visiting Charleston, South Carolina, I believe. This may be a reason to add Montgomery to your list. I wrote about it here: https://www.womensmediacenter.com/news-features/new-memorial-and-museum-where-the-community-impacted-by-lynching-includes-women
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