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Main| Wheeeee.It's festival season!»
Thursday
Sep 05 2019

Yes No Maybe So: "Just Mercy"

by Ben Miller

Festival season is in full swing and there are just a few complete unknowns left in the game.  One of those,which could turn out to be a big awards player,is Dustin Daniel Cretton'sJust Mercystarring Michael B.Jordan and Oscar-winners Brie Larson and Jamie Foxx.  Let's dive in with a Yes,No,Maybe So after the jump...


YES

  • Cretton is an automatic yes.Short Term 12was one of the best films I have ever seen and on the strength of that alone,I am IN

  • Jordan is the closest thing we have to a new "MOVIE STAR"these days and it's nice to see him get a true star vehicle without any brand to rely on (as he had withCreedandBlack Panther)

  • Larson shows up 40 seconds into the trailer,but before that,there are nothing but black faces.  It's refreshing to see people of color telling stories about people of color without focusing on the white people on the periphery

  • Speaking of Larson,lost in all her Marvel mojo,she is one of the most talented actresses living and it will be nice to get her back in a drama.

  • I kept waiting for the inevitable "things work different down here in the South,boy"racist cop,and the film might have that,but I was pleasantly surprised by the restraint from the trailer

  • There's a surprising lack of cliché on view.You're waiting for obvious trailer story beats but keep getting shoved in slightly different directions.  It's a nice change of pace

  • Jordan is doing a great job at selling the steady rock of his character.  This looks to take place across several years and doesn't focus solely on Jamie Foxx's character.

  • Outside of the big three,there is a talented group of supporting cast members: Rafe Spall,O'Shea Jackson Jr,Tim Blake Nelson and Rob Morgan (who was exceptional inMudbound).

NO

  • Personally,I hate "Based on a True Story"text.  Why can't you just let the story stand on its own without force feeding the audience the whole 'this-actually-happened' narrative?

  • The material could get hokey.  Plenty of places this could go wrong

MAYBE SO


  • Prison/death-row dramas are all over the map.  For everyDead Man Walking,you get twoThe Life of David Gales.  For eachTrue Crime,you getThe Green Mile.

  • Where has Jamie Foxx the actor been?  SinceDjango Unchainedin 2012,he has been all over the map film-wise,and not much of it has been good.  I found him in electric inBaby Driver,but am still waiting for him to live up to that breakout year (Ray+Collateral)

  • Jordan doesn't look like he has much to work with from the trailer,but the story is the selling point over the performance.  Foxx appears to have the showier role.

  • "This is about all of us"– That sentiment can feel pandering.The trailer appears to waver between innocence and leniency,depending on the case.  How will this play out in the overarching story?

The trailer feels like a Maybe So,but let's give Cretton and that incredible trio of central actors the benefit of the doubt.So it's a YES.  Though it's easy to feel confident in the collective filmmaking ability here -what do you make of its Oscar chances?Warner Brothers is looking for a big awards push with a Christmas release and a premiere at Toronto this Thursday.  We should know very soon.

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Reader Comments (1)

Personally,I hate "Based on a True Story"text.Why can't you just let the story stand on its own without force feeding the audience the whole 'this-actually-happened' narrative?

It forces the public to engage further than a take it or leave it movie.

September 5,2019 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

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