“As Johnny, Jamie Foxx reminds us why he’s a great actor. He plays this man with a Southern music in his voice, and with a cynical intelligence about how the society is structured: as a wall put up in the face of anyone black, especially if they’re poor. But even if they’re not. Early on, Johnny tells Stevenson that he’s already been through this with other lawyers, so why bother again? The poison they’re fighting is too entrenched.

“But Stevenson has come to slay the dragon of the impossible. That’s what the Civil Rights impulse was — is — about. Michael B. Jordan’s performance is quietly amazing. His Bryan doesn’t get angry, at least not on the surface. If you observed him from a distance, you’d say that he’s strictly business, keeping his eye on the ball (and on the prize).

“But, in fact, Jordan’s acting simmers with the force of someone who’s absorbed a thousand slights, a thousand insults, a thousand rages, and will reverse that karma by keeping his cool. Jordan delivers his lines with a quickening calm, acting with a lawyer’s mind, but his eyes tell a different story. They give off glints of fury and tears.” — from Owen Gleiberman‘s Variety review of Destin Daniel Cretton‘s Just Mercy, “a supple and humane version of a true-life Hollywood liberal drama.”

Hollywood Elsewhere will get around to Just Mercy in good time.