Just Mercy v Dark Waters

The Oscar Season’s here in full swing… Boy, I love this time of the year!

2 Legal Dramas… 2 Real Life Stories… 2 Extraordinary Heroes(read: Lawyers) fighting for the Ordinary…

Which one scores? Or underscores? Let’s find out!

Just Mercy v Dark Waters

Just Mercy is a 2019 American legal drama film directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, starring Michael B. JordanJamie FoxxRob MorganTim Blake NelsonRafe Spall, and Brie Larson.

It tells the true story of Walter McMillian, who, with the help of young defense attorney Bryan Stevenson, appeals his murder conviction.

The film is based on the memoir of the same name, written by Stevenson.

This movie based off of a memoir speaks about how Justice was delayed, yet not denied

So, what works and what doesn’t?

Let’s figure out

  • The length of the movie is something that could get to you at times
  • However, that’s a minor niggle as compared to the way the narrative is structured
  • Brie Larson is wasted in a supporting role that keeps going in and out of the narrative
  • She is not given enough screen time to display her acting chops

So, what works?

  • The script brings forth the mindset of an era, a generation, a state through subtle yet important detailing
  • The film makers end up laying these on you while it’s happening
  • Realisation sets in once the moment has passed and it has hit you in the face
  • The story firmly tackles with how racism in some form or other has led to a twisted form of injustice for people with no means to seek legal reforms
  • The overall plot points keep moving ahead at a brisk pace
  • The narrative hence keeps moving steadily because of these well thought of plot points
  • The Cinematography, Art Direction and Production Design lend to the authenticity of the times and captures Alabama in all it’s hues
  • The Performances by Jordan and Foxx are the highlights of this legal drama
  • Jamie Foxx (in the role of McMillian) displays a rare sense of hope beyond infinity
  • He essays a blend of despair, aspiration, hope and courage in the face of adversity
  • Michael B Jordan (in the role of Stevenson) as well displays a sense of bravado and determination
  • It shows in every step he undertakes against all odds to right a wrong, no matter the cost
  • A special mention should also be made to four actors who support the lead acts: Spall, Nelson, Morgan and Jackson Jr

The Verdict?

Just Mercy needs to be seen for the sense of Justice and to understand what it is to fight for what’s right in today’s times

Just Mercy v Dark Waters

Dark Waters is a 2019 American legal thriller film directed by Todd Haynes and written by Mario Correa and Matthew Michael Carnahan.

It is based on the 2016 article “The Lawyer Who Became DuPont‘s Worst Nightmare” by Nathaniel Rich, published in The New York Times Magazine.

Parts of the story were also reported by Mariah Blake, whose 2015 article “Welcome to Beautiful Parkersburg, West Virginia” was a National Magazine Award finalist, and Sharon Lerner, whose series “Bad Chemistry” ran in The Intercept

Robert Bilott, the principal character in the film, also wrote a memoir, Exposure, detailing his 20-year legal battle against DuPont.

The film stars Mark RuffaloAnne HathawayTim RobbinsBill CampVictor GarberMare WinninghamWilliam Jackson Harper, and Bill Pullman.

Once again, we are dealing with a real life legal drama

However, the dynamics of justice over here are for all of humanity

So, what works and what doesn’t?

Let’s find out

  • There is hardly anything on display in the narrative that takes away from the overall effect
  • The script is compact, concise and stays on point
  • The narrative takes time to build up but takes off after the 30th minute
  • The efforts made by Ruffalo’s character are out there on display
  • The impact of the revelations coming to him also show us the toll he undergoes as an individual
  • There is an inherent sense of internal strife Ruffalo keeps fighting against in his quest for justice
  • Out here, the sense of justice is linked to getting an entity to realise the aftermath of their actions/inactions
  • The relentless pursuit also tends to rob the central character of all his memories gone by
  • The after effects on his family lend to a sense of loss for us as the audience
  • Yet, we see his family/his colleagues having his back in the face of every odd stacked
  • The Editing is razor sharp and does not add to any sort of ennui to the pace
  • The Cinematography plays with bluish hues to add to the sight of all that endanger’s human lives
  • Simply Brutal

The Performances?

  • Right from Ruffalo to Hathaway to Robbins to Pullman, the performances are powered with a sense of conviction and belief
  • Ruffalo leads this talented cast and adds gravitas to his role
  • The transformation in his physical appearance is another thing done right
  • It just shows how Ruffalo keeps going despite the years gaining in on him
  • Watch out for the sequence where Robbin’s character breaks out to defend Ruffalo and his need for the lawsuit.
  • An explosive essay of emotions in one sequence

The Verdict?

Dark Waters is yet another gripping drama that has to be seen to realise the Inactions of One Large Fucking Corporation with Zero Accountability!

So, Any Winners?

  • I will not name any one of these as a winner out here
  • Both of these deserve to be seen
  • One for the sense of justice delivered for a human life on death row
  • While the other needs to be seen for an Entity being made to pay for the misdeeds inflicted upon a community, society, country and humankind
  • Both NEED to be seen to understand what is the Right Thing to be done in this world despite all odds

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