by Don Franks
It’s based on African American lawyer Bryan Stevenson’s book of the same name, about his struggles to reverse death sentences in Alabama. The film version homes in on one particular case, a black man cruelly and crudely framed for the killing of a young white woman.
A particular irony is that this murder and the false arrest for it take place in Monroeville, Alabama. Hometown of Harper Lee, writer of the anti-racist courtroom drama “To Kill a Mockingbird”.
Otherwise racist township authorities use the local Harper Lee museum as a tourist attraction.
Along with the courageous battle of Stevenson and his few white allies, two things from “Just Mercy” will stay long on my memory. The solidarity of the oppressed black community and the solidarity of death row prisoners toward one another.
That, and the fact that the scene is not, as it appears, from the early 1950s but the late 1980s. Today, long after abolition, parts of the USA are steeped in class-based racist violence. The extreme instance – race weighted capital punishment still hold sway in.