There’s usually one film that tops lists whenever powerful legal thrillers are debated: “To Kill a Mockingbird,” set in the 1930s. Now comes a film showing how little has changed since then, based on a murder in Monroeville, Alabama, where Harper Lee wrote her masterpiece.
“Just Mercy” is the real story of civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson and his fight to keep an innocent black man from being executed. It is urgent, searing and powerful, led by a first-rate cast. Though it portrays events of more than 25 years ago, it is very much a film of 2019.
Michael B. Jordan portrays Stevenson, who founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal organization that has successfully challenged the death row convictions of more than 130 inmates. Earlier this year, he was the subject of HBO’s film “True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality.”