Warner Bros. has released a new trailer for their upcoming drama Just Mercy. Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12), the film is based on the true story of attorney Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan) and his work to free wrongfully-convicted death row inmate Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx).
I’ll be very curious to see how this film performs when it hits theaters in limited release at the end of the year before going wide in early January. It’s a really good procedural (click here for my review from TIFF), but unlike last year’s Best Picture winner, Green Book, it doesn’t treat racism as interpersonal but systemic. It understands that the systems that need to be combatted aren’t how we feel about the individual, but about entire systems like mass incarceration and inequal justice. That’s a harder pill to swallow, but Cretton has a made a really strong film. The question is if people will want to see a movie that challenges them or if they’ll write it off as “too heavy.”
Check out the Just Mercy trailer below. The film also stars Brie Larson, Tim Blake Nelson, and Rafe Spall. Just Mercy opens in limited release on December 25th before going wide on January 10th.
Here’s the official synopsis for Just Mercy:
A powerful and thought-provoking true story, “Just Mercy” follows young lawyer Bryan Stevenson (Jordan) and his history-making battle for justice. After graduating from Harvard, Bryan had his pick of lucrative jobs. Instead, he heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or who were not afforded proper representation, with the support of local advocate Eva Ansley (Larson). One of his first, and most incendiary, cases is that of Walter McMillian (Foxx), who, in 1987, was sentenced to die for the notorious murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite a preponderance of evidence proving his innocence and the fact that the only testimony against him came from a criminal with a motive to lie. In the years that follow, Bryan becomes embroiled in a labyrinth of legal and political maneuverings and overt and unabashed racism as he fights for Walter, and others like him, with the odds—and the system—stacked against them.
The main cast also includes Rob Morgan (“Mudbound”) as Herbert Richardson, a fellow prisoner who also sits on death row awaiting his fate; Tim Blake Nelson (“Wormwood”) as Ralph Myers, whose pivotal testimony against Walter McMillian is called into question; Rafe Spall as Tommy Chapman, the DA who is fighting to uphold Walter’s conviction and sentence; and O’Shea Jackson Jr. (“Straight Outta Compton”) as Anthony Ray Hinton, another wrongly convicted death row inmate whose cause is taken up by Bryan.