Just Mercy Blu-ray Review

Based on Bryan Stevenson’s book “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption” Just Mercy is an inspiring drama that brings a poignant and true story to the big screen. Ralph Potts reviews the Blu-ray release from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

88

Details:

Studio and Year: Warner – 2019
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 137 minutes
Genre: Drama/Biopic

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Brie Larson, Rob Morgan, Tim Blake Nelson, Rafe Spall
Directed by: Destin Daniel Cretton
Music by: Joel P. West
Written by:Destin Daniel Cretton, Andrew Lanham
Region Code: A

Release Date: April 14, 2020

“Based on a True Story of a Modern Hero”

Synopsis:

Based on Bryan Stevenson’s book “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption” Just Mercy is an inspiring drama that brings a poignant and true story to the big screen.

My Take:

Just Mercy is based on the powerful and thought-provoking true story of young lawyer Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. 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 (Brie Larson). One of his first, and most incendiary, cases is that of Walter McMillian (Jamie 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 main 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, as well as overt and unabashed racism as he fights for Walter, and others like him, with the odds—and the system—stacked against them.

Just Mercy based on Bryan Stevenson’s book “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption.” I wasn’t familiar with this fact-based story and, the trailer didn’t leave an impression so, going into viewing I wasn’t expecting a whole lot in terms of story as it seems as though this type has been told before. While that may be true, I have to admit that I found Just Mercy to be compelling and quite good.

Given its subject, one might be expecting a sociopolitical melodrama told from upon a soapbox where its preachiness is squarely in your face. I didn’t find that to be the case. While there may be times where making a statement in filmmaking requires a more or less in your face delivery to emphasize its message this film presents its case via a tale of advocacy that speaks to its troublesome topic by making every attempt to render its facts through a conventionally digestible narrative that defines its primary characters in Bryan and Walter. It rarely ventures off in unnecessary territory, save for a minor subplot involving a second death row inmate whose case seemed like an addendum to highlight other potential flaws in the system.

I thought the film’s impact was serviced by its truths and the competent performances by Foxx, Jordan and Tim Blake Nelson. I think that Just Mercy tells a little known (or surprising) story that reminds of just how far we haven’t come in many ways. I found it to be well done and easily worth its 137-minute runtime.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

The rating is for thematic content including some racial epithets.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 82
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

Video: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
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  • Fleshtones:
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Dolby Atmos Rating: 80
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Level of immersion: 
  • Soundstage integration: 
  • Audio object placement: 
  • Effectiveness of Atmos platform: 
  • Entertainment factor: 

Just Mercy comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

Colors are effectively used in this film to help set the tone/setting based upon the mood of the scene. The chroma range isn’t broad and hues can vary from being sullen and inanimate to warm and inviting. Skin tones are warm with natural highlights and descriptive variation. Images onscreen were exquisitely detailed and sharp with superb depth of field and visible texture during wide angle shots. Contrast is spot on and blacks are deep with revealing delineation that provides excellent perceptibility during scenes shot at night or in lower lighting. The video has a pristine quality that is free of video related artifacts.

The surround mix features dialogue that is full bodied with defining tonal characteristics and prominent soundstage position. High level detail is readily apparent as subtle sound effects, music and voices are rendered with superior clarity and depth. There is little call for active surround activity and extended dynamics however there is frequent use of atmospheric sounds that utilize the entire soundstage in support of the exterior/interior venues depicted in the film. The end result is an excellent audio presentation that renders the soundtrack’s elements with aplomb.

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the less aggressive variety but, considering the source material that’s not a complete surprise. Its use of sounds placed above is minimal, limited predominantly to atmospheric extension. Sounds in the listening plane at ear level are busier, utilizing effects that are discrete and ambient in nature, creating an enriching level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events nicely. The music score is subtly mixed over the platform so as to add natural depth to its orchestrated elements without drawing attention away from the thematic details of what is transpiring onscreen. On the surface you might find a film of this type to be an odd choice for an immersive sound mix, however I found it to be quite effective and complimentary, given the nature of the film’s production design.

Bonus Features:

  • Making Mercy
  • The Equal Justice Initiative
  • This Moment Deserves
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Digital Code

Final Thoughts:

Based on Bryan Stevenson’s book “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption” Just Mercy is an inspiring drama that brings a poignant and compelling true story to the big screen. It comes to Blu-ray from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment featuring excellent high definition audio/video, including a Dolby Atmos mix, and a worthwhile supplement package that includes insights from the filmmakers. Just Mercy is time well spent and is highly recommended for genre fans.

 

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman color calibration software and Portrait Displays C6 HDR2000 colorimeter from Portrait.com)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Oppo BDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/Roomie Remote V6 Universal Remote Control
SVS Ultra Tower Speakers (Gloss Finish)
SVS Ultra Center Channel (Gloss Finish)
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Niles Audio In-Ceiling/In-Wall Series Speakers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems