FREE STATE OF JONES

Empire (UK) - - ON SCREEN - dj

SOME­WHERE IN GARY Ross’ stodgy Civil War film is a crack­ing Robin Hood redo. Af­ter re­belling against the Rebs, New­ton Knight (Mcconaughey) leads a group of de­sert­ers and es­caped slaves, strik­ing at the Con­fed­er­ates from the Mis­sis­sippi swamp — his own ‘Sher­wood’. But Ross thins out the drama over 14 years and in­serts jar­ring flash-for­wards to 1947, when New­ton’s de­scen­dant is be­ing pros­e­cuted for his mixed-race lin­eage. It’s leav­ened some­what by Mcconaughey, but while Ross has a fair point to make — namely, that what Knight fought for, the true eman­ci­pa­tion of Africanamer­i­cans, still hasn’t been en­tirely won — he’s made it so poorly, all he’s achieved is a tire­some in­dul­gence in white man’s guilt.

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