Recorded Saturday, June 13, 2020
Based on the book by attorney Bryan Stevenson, the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, director Destin Daniel Cretton’s 2019 feature Just Mercy stars Michael B. Jordan as Stevenson and presents actual events from the early years of his career. Arriving in Alabama after graduating from Harvard Law School, Stevenson begins working with convicts who, to that point, hadn’t been able to find or afford proper legal representation. In particular, the story focuses on Stevenson’s relationship with death-row inmate Walter “Johnny D.” McMillian (Jamie Foxx); in presenting Stevenson’s unflagging efforts to overturn McMillian’s wrongful conviction, the film also shines a light on the systemic racism that continues to compromise the American legal system.
Join the Film Club as we discuss the film’s added impact in light of recent events, examine the filmmakers’ use of large-format optics, and take a few detours into the work of Spike Lee. And for those keeping track at home, take note: This was the episode when we (finally!) decided on a name for the podcast.