A civil war separates the nation, poor farmer Newton Knight (Matthew McConaughey) leads a group of rebels against the confederate army.
Matthew McConaughey turns in a stellar performance as Newton Knight. He brings the true leadership, and inspiration that Knight instilled in his people. The way Newton carries his army, is the same as how McConaughey carries the film. He’s in virtually every scene. The greatness he brings helps make this movie a good watch.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw plays Newton’s lover Rachel. A slave who falls in love with the man who saved her. Mbatha-Raw and McConaughey have great chmistry. Watching their relationship develop in the midst of all the hate and devastation in the world was beautiful. Mahershala Ali plays Moses, Newton comes across him early in the film. I bought that bond. Newton has a deep love for Moses like a brother would.
The acting is superb in Free State of Jones and the true story is rich, so what could be wrong with this film? Director Gary Ross didn’t pace this out well at all. A two hour and twelve minute run time shouldn’t have you feeling like your watching paint dry. At times it felt like that. He brings some nice looking visuals to it, but he doesn’t bring anything special to the material. It was a Knight speech, a battle, planning for the next battle, repeat. If the actors weren’t so stellar here this movie would’ve been a bore.
Free State of Jones is a movie everyone should see if you aren’t familiar with this true story. You’ll learn a thing or two watching this, and the acting is superb. If you turn it off half way through I wouldn’t be shocked.