Just Mercy ★★★★

TIFF Film #3:
Genuinely heart-wrenching in a way that The Glass Castle ultimately fell (way) short of, Just Mercy is a riveting, complex courtroom drama that echoes To Kill a Mockingbird. That comparison isn't by mistake (this film takes place in the town that inspired that elder film's source material and the film itself has numerous references to the latter), but what pushes it over the edge and allows it to forge its own name is its sense of muscular urgency that has been lacking in other recent courtroom dramas. You feel like so much is at stake, particularly following an absolutely gutting execution sequence.

Jamie Foxx gives his best performance since Django Unchained, with the seeds of hurt and resentment at his situation being sewn with the complexity that only an Academy Award winning actor like him can achieve. Michael B. Jordan gives his best performance, maybe ever (I *liked* Black Panther in comparison, but I do feel that the power of his scenes power this role past it). Brie Larson, who is very much a supporting character in comparison, does a damn fine job in all of scenes. Her deep-fried southern accent never broke, which is always impressive. She does great, but its Foxx's & Jordan's film ultimately. Don't be surprised to hear their names come award season.

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