FREE STATE OF JONES – review

FREE STATE OF JONES

While there have been some great Civil War flicks about little known events, such as Glory.  I hadn’t hear about Newton Knight (Matthew McConaughey) who raised a group of rebellions in the south.  I had never heard of this story in history, so I was very intrigued when I heard a movie had been made.  Director Gary Ross brings us the film that I think could have been a little more intriguing, and not a boring.  images-58

With the movie being over 2 hours, Gary starts the movie about Newton who was nurse for the Confederate army during the Civil War.  Newton starts having a problem when the Confederates start to pillage and loot their fellow southerners land.  They called this a Tax, but Newton thinks it is wrong and just a way for some of the Rich commanders to get even richer.  I also learned that the Confederates had a law that allowed the first son in a family household to be exempt from fighting (Draft) if the family owned at least 20 slaves.  This would be another way the Rich continued to be Rich throughout the War.  images-59

Throughout the movie we have some slow parts that could have been cut out, and put together with a little more fighting scenes.  They went into more of the political part of the war on the confederate side in too much depth.  While I learned more about this part of the civil war I would have rather  seen more of the fighting.

With Newton being the hero in the story he has to have someone that is the Anti- hero.  This brings in Lt. Barbour (Bill Tangradi), who is a Confederate that is very very evil.  With Newton bringing up a Rebellion regiment to fight the Confederates in the south, he becomes one of the main enemies of the Confederates and Lt. Barbour.  imgres-54

We learn that Newton has a child with a former slave Rachel (Gugu Mbatha-Raw).  This is an important fact because Gary Ross shows us some of the decedents of Newton and Rachel who has some legal problems in the late 1940’s when he looks white and marries a white women.  The main prosecutors at the time found out that he really is mixed with being a descendent for Rachel and Newton.  This is put in the movie just to show us how things did not just become equal and free at the end of the Civil War.  imgres-53

McConaughey is the best thing about Free State of Jones.  While I thought the story was intriguing, I think there was a lot left out.  I would have liked to have a little more depth to the movie and not as much drawn out scenes.  I enjoyed learning about Newton and his story, but I came home and read about him and learned even more.

I grade the flick a C +, while it was enjoyable, I think a lot more could have been done.  McConaughey was great, but he can’t do enough to make the movie more fun and exciting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *