Free State of Jones - 2 Stars
Visually beautiful with strong performances, but the disjointed story and time-span result in a boring film.
Banding together with other small farmers and local slaves, Newt Knight launched an uprising that led Jones County, Mississippi to secede from the Confederacy, creating a FREE STATE OF JONES. Knight continued his struggle into Reconstruction, distinguishing him as a compelling, if controversial, figure of defiance long beyond the War.
Matthew McConaughey’s performance is great, over the past few years he’s demonstrated his on-screen diversity. The cast, as a whole is strong - with no obvious weak link. The writing, however is not nearly as strong. The story starts in around 1865 and ends well into the 1950s. It would’ve been a much stronger film if it had focused on one battle and had an epilogue that explained what happened into the future. The script was boring, crammed with wordy dialogue and was very disjointed - the breaks between years were not fluent.
Visually the movie looked stunning, the battle scenes, while graphic were striking and the scenery was outstanding. The direction was good, Ross managed to evoke strong performances from his actors, but no director could’ve made this film interesting.
Overall strong performances, but boring, very, very boring.
Review by Benjamin Maio Mackay
Screening courtesy of Picture This Publicity.