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Author Topic: The Free State of Jones (2016)  (Read 2177 times)
noodles_leone
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« on: March 10, 2015, 03:59:43 PM »

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The first photo of Matthew McConaughey portraying defiant farmer Newton Knight in writer-director Gary Ross' upcoming Civil War drama The Free State of Jones was released Monday.



Source: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/first-look-matthew-mcconaughey-as-780163

I'm not expecting too much from Gary Ross, but a western starring McConaughey is a great idea and the photo looks good.

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« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2015, 05:01:25 PM »

A Western set in Mississippi? Well, I guess if Django Unchained counts.

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cigar joe
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« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2015, 03:31:45 AM »

A Southern  Grin

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« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2015, 07:22:49 AM »

Hey, True Grit is in Arkansas and Oklahoma. A Western is more about when rather than where.

Thanks, CJ. This might be something to look forward to.

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« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2015, 08:28:35 AM »

You call me NL.

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« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2016, 07:40:17 PM »

A trailer is now available (it's called "official trailer 2" so I guess I've missed at least another one and possibly numerous teasers):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UctBJHH63yU

It looks like a film that takes itself too seriously for its own good BUT the accessories, the costumes and the acting look really good.

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« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2016, 08:23:14 PM »

This looks really good to me.

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« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2016, 08:26:59 PM »

Sadly I was mistaken. Not bad, nothing special.

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Free State of Jones (2016) is everything you'd expect from a Civil War film by the director of The Hunger Games. Gary Ross's epic is well-made but underwhelming, trading depth and insight for obvious dramatic beats.

 Newton Knight (Matthew McConaughey) deserts from the Confederate Army after the Battle of Second Corinth. Knight joins a band of runaway slaves and deserters for protection against Confederate Home Guard units. Eventually their resistance builds into all-out rebellion; Knight's men wage guerrilla warfare against the Confederacy and overrun Jones County, Mississippi. Once the war ends, Knight and his followers find their gains washed away by Jim Crow.

 Free State of Jones draws on a true story, which Ross milks for crowd-pleasing elements. The film opens with an epic battle relishing gory details: graphic amputations, hogs devouring entrails. One set piece involves a funeral ambush, with black-clothed widows blasting Confederate heads and Knight strangling a villain with his belt. Benoit Delhomme complements with dynamic camerawork, probing spooky mangrove swamps, burning plantation homes and nocturnal Klan raids.

 Despite the premise, Jones often feels stilted. Ross keeps characterization rote: Knight is tough and charismatic but lacks depth. His "leave me be" motive seems more selfish than righteous. His romance with a runaway slave (Gubu Mbatha-Raw) provides human interest, but a subplot involving his returned wife (Keri Russell) amounts to nothing. Eventually, the mix of guerrilla raids and Confederate atrocities grows repetitive.

 Ross dwells on Knight's fate during Reconstruction. His colleague Moses (Mahershala Ali) registers blacks to vote; Knight endures indignity from Mississippi officials who replace slavery with segregation. What might be a bittersweet coda drags on interminably, like the first act of another movie; Knight goes from hero to cranky bystander. Even worse is a flash-forward subplot showing Newton's son on trial for miscegenation, sloppily woven into the narrative.

 Matthew McConaughey commits to a demanding role, playing with fiery conviction. He dominates the film to the detriment of his costars. Gubu Mbatha-Raw and Mahershala Ali, at least, are strong enough to transcend their thin characters. Others play stock types, like Bill Tangradi's craven Confederate and Joe Chrest's lecherous slave owner. Jill Jane Clements has a fun bit as an amoral tavern owner.

Free State of Jones is a good idea indifferently executed. I'm all for Civil War movies, especially those exploding the Lost Cause myth, but Newton Knight deserves a better try than this messy, disappointing muddle. 6/10

http://nothingiswrittenfilm.blogspot.com/2016/06/the-free-state-of-jones.html

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« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2016, 07:34:11 AM »

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a flash-forward subplot showing Newton's son on trial for miscegenation
Try "great-grandson".

Here's an interesting site:
http://www.historyvshollywood.com/reelfaces/free-state-of-jones/

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« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2016, 08:56:26 AM »

The movie sure did a great job making that clear. I'll change it to descendent. Thanks for the link. Afro

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« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2016, 08:00:25 AM »

The movie sure did a great job making that clear.
I thought it did too. First, the caption indicated a jump in 85 years--that's 3 generations right there. Then there was a comment about how much negro blood the man had: someone in voice-over calculated an eighth. Well if the son had half, the grandson would have a quarter, the great-grandson would therefore have an eighth (if no other non-white had mixed in). I know this is math, Grogs, but I think even you should be able to handle it.

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« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2016, 08:56:27 AM »

See, my actual point is that said subplot was very poorly (and pointlessly) added to the story. He could be son, great-grandson or eighth cousin twice removed and it wouldn't change a thing.

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« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2016, 11:24:32 AM »

I liked the bit as it added interest to a plot that had its doldrums. And it wasn't irrelevant since miscegenation was a feature of Newt Knight's story as well. And I think it was handled well, intercut with what was happening in the 19th Cent. I particularly liked the fact that a trial sequence was cut up, as it wouldn't have been if it had been tacked onto the end of the film. There are problems with the film, but the trial of Newt's great-grandson isn't one of them.

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« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2016, 02:09:34 PM »

I agree that it wasn't a bad idea, but there wasn't any rhyme or reason to how Ross integrated those scenes in the story. If this had been established as a framing device, it could have worked. As is, it's just brief, random flash forwards strung carelessly into the plot.

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« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2016, 04:03:49 PM »

established as a framing device
cliché. Better to have done what they in fact did.

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