Set during the Civil War, Free State of Jones tells the story of defiant Southern farmer, Newt Knight, and his extraordinary armed rebellion against the Confederacy. Banding together with other small farmers and local slaves, 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. Written by
The "Free State of Jones" was not the only area of its kind - i.e., a southern region that opposed and/or threatened to secede from the Confederacy. There were also the Nickajack region of North Alabama and East Tennessee, the State of Scott in North Tennessee, Searcy County in Arkansas, and the Republic of Winston in North Alabama. See more »
During the montage sequence of photos of the fall of Vicksburg, one of the photos shows the Dunker Church which was the Battle of Antietam in September 1862. See more »
You saw the trailers for this movie. You remember how cool it looked? How it looked like it was about a ragtag group of people trying to fight for their freedom, their independence, and their dignity? Yeah, those scenes took up maybe about ten minutes of this movie. If you go into this movie expecting a fast paced action epic, that is definitely not what you are going to get.
Now, I knew this before watching this film. I knew it was not going to be an action heavy movie. But I didn't care, I was still excited to see my boy Matthew McConaughey on the big screen again. And you know what? He didn't disappoint. In fact, he was fantastic. Matthew McConaughey is a great actor, and he was great in this movie, delivering an intense and emotional performance that sent chills through me. However, he just didn't have much to do, other than deliver funeral speeches and motivational speeches, ad infinitum, for two hours and twenty minutes. And I'm not exaggerating.
Now, the one thing this movie did very well was being bleak, dark, and hopeless. This was a dark time in American history, and the movie shouldn't have been any different. This film did pay its respects to the time period by portraying history as realistically, and as brutally, as they could, and also by not making this film the sweeping action period piece it was advertised as being.
Making this a bloody action movie would have cheapened the experience and made it less powerful, and on one hand I respect the direction that Gary Ross went with this film. On the other hand though, this movie was basically a two hour long compilation of Matthew McConaughey delivering speeches to groups of people repeatedly. And unfortunately, because of this, I was so incredibly bored by this film; and not because I don't like dialogue driven movies, but because this particular movie moved at a snails pace and tread almost zero ground, feeling more like a made for TV film than a major motion picture.
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