Free State of Jones

Posted on June 26, 2016


Free State of Jones – Gruesomely graphic beginning with blood and guts all over the place so you have no doubt this is about war; the Civil War that Newt Knight (Matthew McConaughey) calls a rich man’s war where the fighting is for cotton. Apparently if you owned 20 or more slaves, you didn’t have to fight either. Knight ends up leading a group of runaway slaves, deserters and poor farmers in a battle against the Confederate Army’s tax collectors. Mixed in is the later story of his son with Rachel (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) being denied the right to marry a white woman.

Much of the time, the pacing is slow, deliberate, controlled with dramatic pauses. Other times, it just feels long. It makes statements like “You cannot own a child of God” and “Everyone at some time is someone else’s nigger.” McConaughey has black, dirty hair and a wild-eyed look. He bears an amazing resemblance to the real-life Newt Knight.