TITLE: Free State of Jones
CAST: Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mahershala Ali and Keri Russell REVIEWER: Mapula Nkosi
DUE to the heavy subject of race that this film tackles, it is likely Free State of
Jones will be released only at Cinema Nouveau, which will be a shame.
In this epic drama, set in the 1800s and looking at soldiers who were hunted down because they are deserters, Matthew McConaughey is a medic called Newton Knight with a bounty on his head. He soon finds himself having more in common with the slaves.
He starts marshalling the poor, who are the worst taxed by war, to rebel against the state. It is an obvious irony that his name is Knight, which is always a reminder of the white liberal stories dominating film narratives.
If it was not two hours long, McConaughey, with his spirited portrayal, would have pulled it off better, but one cannot help but feel that at least 40 minutes could have been shaved off.
Nevertheless, in the year of race problems in South Africa, this movie will resonate and Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Mahershala Ali’s great performances will have you riveted, so you will not waste your ticket money.
Free State of Jones releases today. VERDICT: Good