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Friday, July 22, 2016

Free State of Jones Movie Review

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The Trailer:

The Good:
From the beginning of the film, there's no shying away from the gruesome, and very graphic visuals. It is war after all (the Civil War more specifically). The historical nature of the film is full front and center. I appreciated how some of the portrayals of the historical events really challenged what many of us would like to believe according to "Public Memory". In other words, you may have been taught in history classes that certain events happened a certain way, but this movie shows you some of the uglier truths. It's fair to say that in some aspects of the film it kept things pretty honest.

There were some nice twists and turns as the movie progressed. If you're unfamiliar with the character and/or the history, then it's even more interesting to see it all unfold. Matthew McConaughey doesn't disappoint in bringing yet another great performance we've now come to expect from the Oscar winner. His character, Newton Knight, seems like a rather interesting and compelling one. His resolve and fight for justice and equality is something that most of us today would probably look at and revere. A lot of the supporting cast deserve a lot of credit as well. Mahershala Ali, who played "Moses", did a wonderful job in his role as one of Newt's friends. (I'll address this later) It was nice to see Ali's character growth for the entire film.

The Bad:
The film felt a tad bit longer than needed. There were were multiple times when I thought the movie was going to end, but instead it just kept on going. The "Time jumping" sequences felt a little out of place and they were kind of distracting. When you finally realize why they were there, the reveal just didn't seem to live up to the built up anticipation. (Though, I must say I appreciated the irony it presented in the end)

The Reason

As I suspected, this movie is going to call for the uninformed viewer to probably go do a lot of fact checking. Thanks to one of my colleagues at EveryMovieHasALesson.com, you can just click here to see how the film actually stacks up to the real historical events. (Careful, there are spoilers in that link)

A concern I did have with this movie that I will reserve from labeling as a "good" or "bad" is whether or not this movie fell victim to using Hollywood stereotypes. I was rather disappointed that certain characters and events were created and/or never existed. I think because of the additions, the movie may have fell victim to stereotypical character roles. An example of this would be like "The White Savior Complex" who uses the "Black Best Friend" character as a catalyst to elevate their emotional states or motivation. (Think Robert Downy Jr and Don Cheadle from Civil War)

Overall, Free State of Jones means well, but I'm not sure if it's the type of movie that must be seen by average movie goers. If you like period pieces, or have a love for historical movies, then I'd say this is right up your alley. You'll know if you want to see this or not based on however you feel by the trailer.

The Rating: 6/10

My [Loosely based] Ratings scale
10-9 = A Must watch at any cost. 
8.5- 7.5 = Theater worthy 
7-6.5 = Matinee/rental worthy at best
6 = Watchable (If it's free)
5 - below = Avoid at all costs

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