Updated: Mar 5
*MINOR SPOILER ALERT*
Imagine driving down a dark road after a long day at work. You notice a car speeding up to meet the back of your run-down pickup truck. Red and blue lights blind your vision as you look in the rear-view mirror.
An officer demands you to leave your vehicle without explaining why. Handcuffs are secured barely in time for your Miranda rights to be read aloud.
The scene's familiarity in "Just Mercy" exists well outside the movie.
"Just Mercy" is based on the true story of Walter McMillian, played by Jamie Foxx, who is falsely accused and sentenced to death row because of the murder of an 18 year-old girl. Recent Harvard University graduate Brian Stevenson comes across his case.
Portrayed by Michael B. Jordan, Stevenson meets severe resistance from local law enforcement and the people of Montgomery, Alabama. The rising threat from racist law enforcement and delusional civilian vigilantes make for a suspenseful experience.
My favorite scene is when Stevenson first visits McMillian’s family to provide legal council. Minnie McMillian, portrayed by Karan Kendrick, makes a comment that “a few people came to watch."
The film immediately cuts to Stevenson sitting at the head of the dining room table completely surrounded by a heartwarming group of family, friends and other members of the Montgomery community.
It is a heartwarming story about Black men and women uniting to right the wrongs of those unjustly persecuted. The film takes place in 1989 but its lessons, power dynamics and themes do not feel like a distant memory.
"Just Mercy" is directed by Destin Daniel Cretton and stars Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx and Brie Larson. It is one of many films and other media resources compiled by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion on Salisbury University's Anti-Racism Resource webpage.
By JACK FIECHTNER
Featured image by Warner Bros. Pictures.