30 December 2019 | Albino_Hyena
Solid performances and a competent screenplay keep you engaged
If I was to list this film's greatest strength, that would be its ability to pull you into the characters' situation and feel their sense of frustration at the injustice they face. The film opens with one man being aggressively arrested for a crime he didn't commit, then transitions to a young student visiting prison for the first time, where he meets a peer who turns out to be more relatable than expected. From there, the audience sees how these men are driven, what they're fighting for, and how it effects their lives as well as the community around them.
Michael B Jordan, as usual, was fantastic. He did a great job portraying this young idealist who, despite being Harvard educated and possessing solid evidence, finds himself unable to make the difference he originally thought he could. Jamie Foxx's performance was also great; he displayed genuine vulnerability and emotion as this embittered, beaten-down (but still somewhat hopeful) man in a cruel world.
I had no issues with the technical aspects of this movie; they didn't do anything special nor did they do anything wrong. This being a legal drama, the script might feel a bit predictable to some, and some of the dialog/speeches seemed a bit too grandiose for real life. There are a few scenes, especially the two montages set to music, that felt a bit cliched, but this movie also has two particular sequences (which I won't spoil here) in the second half that are very effective and powerful.
Overall, this is a well-made and well-acted movie adapted from a pretty important true story, so I would recommend it to anyone interested in criminal justice or simply anyone who enjoys cinema made with a purpose.
*P.S, don't watch the full trailer; it showed way too much from the third act of the movie. I don't count that against the film itself, as the marketing team is separate from the cast and crew, but I just wanted to warn people.