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Destin Daniel Crettin
Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Brie Larson
Writing Credits:
Destin Daniel Crettin, Andrew Lanham

Defense attorney Bryan Stevenson works to free a wrongly condemned death row prisoner.

Box Office:
$25 million.
Opening Weekend
$9,713,228 on 2547 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English Dolby Atmos
English Dolby 5.1
English Descriptive Audio
French Dolby 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Portuguese Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 137 min.
Price: $35.99
Release Date: 4/14/2020

• “Making Mercy” Featurette
• “The Equal Justice Initiative” Featurette
• “This Moment Deserves” Featurette
• Deleted Scenes
• Previews


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Just Mercy [Blu-Ray] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 19, 2020)

Based on a true story, 2019’s Just Mercy provides a courtroom drama with life and death stakes. We head back to Alabama circa 1987 and meet Walter “Johnnie D” McMillian (Jamie Foxx), a working-class black family man who finds himself in trouble with the law.

A year earlier, someone killed a white 18-year-old named Ronda Harrison, and the police accuse Johnnie D of the crime. Despite a paucity of evidence against him, the court finds Johnnie D guilty and sentenced to death.

In 1989, Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan) graduates from Harvard Law. Rather than take his pick of lucrative positions, he decides to work for the common good and acts as an advocate for those he believes received unjust sentences.

As part of this opportunity, Bryan takes on Johnnie D’s case. With the assistance of local advocate Eva Ansley (Brie Larson), Bryan digs into the situation and works to deliver justice.

Despite the fairly ample star power of Jordan, Foxx and Larson, Mercy didn’t find much of an audience. $50 million worldwide doesn’t seem like a terrible take for a flick that takes on this one’s heavy subject matter, but it still feels lackluster.

Perhaps it didn’t help that Clemency, another flick about an innocent man on death row, hit screens around the same time. Granted, that one made barely $300,000, so it probably didn’t steal many viewers from Mercy, but two similar stories at the same time might’ve damaged both.

Or perhaps audiences simply didn’t find much to interest them from Mercy, and I can’t blame them. While well-meaning and admirable in spirit, the film fails to find its own identity.

Face it: legal dramas about unjustly accused prisoners aren’t exactly new, and I can’t claim Mercy finds a twist. From start to finish, the movie feels like material we’ve seen many times in the past.

Not that a movie needs to be unique to work, of course. Even with the well-trodden nature of the “crusade for justice” narrative, the story can still succeed.

Clemency managed a twist because it spent so much time with the prison’s warden, and that created a change of pace. Sure, it still invested in the tale of its innocent death row inmate, but the emphasis on the warden allowed for something unusual.

No such curveballs exist in the fairly standard Mercy, as it walks a largely predictable path. Little tension or real drama crops up here, so we find ourselves with a tale that follows expected trails.

Too much of the movie goes down unnecessary tangents. Rather than focus on Johnnie D. and Bryan, we also track other death row inmates, with the inevitable execution scene as well.

This feels superfluous for the story at hand, and it seems like a cheap attempt to gin up emotion. Yes, one could argue Mercy needs a sequence like this to clearly depict the stakes at hand, but I think it comes across as manipulative.

I do like the fact Mercy features a black protagonist. Too many movies of this sort come with “white saviors” as their leads, so I appreciate the fact that doesn’t occur here.

The movie’s depiction of its Southern location contributes to the movie’s cliché nature, though. No, I don’t deny that racism was – and is – rampant in that part of the country, but it still feels like an easy way out for the filmmakers.

We’re conditioned to see Southerners as horrible racists, and Mercy does little to challenge that notion. The movie uses this conceit for cheap emotion and little more.

Mercy remains wholly professional, and the actors add credibility, as they all play their roles in an earnest, honest manner. They avoid potential melodramatic pitfalls and give their characters believability.

Unfortunately, they can’t turn Mercy into an especially compelling drama. While it seems more than competent, it lacks real narrative tension or depth, so it feels like a mediocre and semi-trite take on the subject.

Footnote: information about the real-life subjects of the film crop up during the end credits, though these cease by the time the film’s title appears onscreen. Some of these clips prove more emotional than the movie itself.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus C-

Just Mercy appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Expect a quality presentation.

Sharpness looked positive. A little softness cropped up during occasional shots, but the majority of the film was accurate and distinctive.

I witnessed no shimmering or jaggies, and edge haloes remained absent. As expected, the film lacked any print flaws.

In terms of palette, Mercy went with a subdued take on orange and teal. Within the stylistic choices, the hues seemed appropriate.

Blacks were deep and tight, and shadows looked smooth and clear for the most part, though some nighttime shots could be a little dim. The image worked fine given its low-key parameters.

Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the movie’s Dolby Atmos soundtrack suited the story, so this meant the soundscape accentuated general atmosphere and not much else. Outside of street and outdoors sequences, I couldn’t detect much that added particular dimensionality. The elements brought a little breadth but not much.

Audio quality appeared good. Speech seemed distinctive and concise, without roughness or brittleness.

Music was warm and full, and effects came across as accurate. This ended up as a serviceable mix for a character drama, though I admit it felt odd that they sprung for an Atmos track given the subdued nature of the story.

A few featurettes follow, and Making Mercy fills four minutes, six seconds with notes from production accountant Reena Magsarili, camera utility Brejon Wylie, grip Patrick Blake, intern Erica Douglas, 2nd AD Karen Davis, script supervisor Amber Harley, B camera 2nd assistant, Victoria Warren, assistant Rachel V. Byrd, key costumer Demetricus Holloway, costumers Icy White and Krystn Leigh, director/co-writer Destin Daniel Cretton, and actors Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, and Brie Larson.

“Making” tells us how amazing the production is and how important the story is. It becomes self-congratulatory fluff.

The Equal Justice Initiative spans eight minutes, 10 seconds and provides comments from Jordan and EJI director Bryan Stevenson. We learn about the EJI here. While it’s nice to meet the real Stevenson, this adds up to a promotional piece for the EJI.

Next comes This Moment Deserves, a six-minute, seven-second reel that offers remarks from Jordan, Cretton, Stevenson, Foxx, Larson, costume designer Francine Jamison-Tanchuck, and production designer Sharon Seymour.

“Moment” looks at the movie’s themes about justice. It’s another piece that tells us the film is important and meaningful. Don’t expect much from it, though we get a few minor filmmaking insights.

Eight Deleted Scenes take up 14 minutes, 31 seconds, and the first two fill the most time. One shows Bryan in law school as he debates with a classmate, and the next lets us see Bryan as he attempts to defend a 13-year-old being treated as an adult. Both have their moments but feel disconnected from the final film.

The third offers a follow-up to Scene Two, so obviously it doesn’t fit the movie without its predecessor. The remaining clips either offer minor exposition or small character moments. None of these add a lot.

The disc opens with ads for Tenet, The Way Back and The Good Liar. No trailer for Mercy appears here.

At its heart, Just Mercy provides a dramatic tale, and it seems wholly well-intentioned. Unfortunately, the film can’t rise above the level of cliché, so the end result lacks the emotional punch it needs. The Blu-ray comes with very good picture, adequate audio and a mix of supplements. I want to like Mercy but it just doesn’t connect with the source as well as it should.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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