Movie Review – ‘Free State of Jones’

“A shockingly brutal and bloody war movie, “Free State of Jones” raises many hot-topic issues—none more so than the dramatic mistreatment of blacks by Southerner plantation and slave owners.  This historic film starkly illustrates the pressures and hardships faced by so many down at the local level.”

Patrick King, REEL BRIEF

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Alright, alright, alright.  Matthew McConaughey fans will rejoice seeing another gritty and enthralling performance from the award-winning actor.  McConaughey, who earned an Academy Award in 2013’s “Dallas Buyers Club” and a Critics Choice win for his unorthodox sleuth character in HBO’s premiere season of “True Detective”, leads a sensational cast in this true Civil War story.

Teamed up with rising Hollywood actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw (from last year’s “Concussion”), McConaughey plays Southern farmer Newt Knight…a rebellion leader unwilling to fight and die for the Confederate States of America and cotton-producing slave owners against President Lincoln’s advancing Union army.

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A shockingly brutal and bloody war movie, “Free State of Jones” raises many hot-topic issues—none more so than the dramatic mistreatment of blacks by Southerner plantation and slave owners.  This historic film starkly illustrates the pressures and hardships faced by so many down at the local level…a story often pushed aside for decisive Civil War battlefields and examples of Lincoln’s prowess dealing with a divided Congress and nation inside Washington DC.

Viewers see firsthand how the right of the people to keep and bear arms is a necessity to the security of a free State. As predicted in 1788 by Alexander Hamilton; “an army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens, little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights and those of their fellow citizens”. Other red meat topics explored include the Confederacy’s willful takeover of an individual’s property and a wanton disregard of established anti-slavery law in the South.

The first of three 2016 movies to focus on inter-racial relationships and the slave rebellion, “Free State of Jones” is a powerful start. With “The Birth of a Nation” and “Loving” hitting theaters this October and November respectively, a continued look into the dark and disturbing past of our country is further examined.  And in order to form a more perfect Union, that’s not only important, but required.

Grade: B+

Free State of Jones” is rated R for brutal battle scenes and disturbing graphic images.  Its running time is 2 hours and 19 minutes.

© 2016, Patrick. All rights reserved.



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