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Free State of Jones review: Historically accurate yes, but dull beyond belief

Aleesha Matharu | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:49 IST

If you're expecting an action packed movie like The Patriot after watching the trailer, you'll be disappointed.

Because as historically accurate this may be, particularly compared to the movie I just mentioned, the slow pace and extended run time at 139 minutes makes it a hard slog to get through.

A message about equality, freedom and fairness

The story is about Newton Knight (Mathew McConaughey), a Confederate soldier. After his nephew is killed in front of him in the 1862 Battle of Corinth, he becomes an enlightened insurgent.

He then gathers a band of Confederate defectors and escaped slaves, including Moses Washington (Mahershala Ali) and Rachel (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), who later marries Knight, and wages guerrilla war against the confederacy in Mississippi.

What worked well for the movie was the tone: dark and hopeless.

This was a dark period in American history, and the movie manages to depict the brutalities realistically.

Also, it's always chilling to see the Ku Klux Klan do their thing.

But it's such a lengthy slog - basically a two-hour long compilation of McConaughey delivering speeches to groups of people repeatedly. The repetition was tedious, and it isn't because I don't like dialogue-driven movies. It's just that the movie moved so slowly, making it ridiculously dull to sit through.

It probably would would have been better off as a mini-series.

The verdict

Gary Ross's Free State of Jones is far from being a perfect movie, but it does hit home in some rare moments.

Particularly at a time when the race debate in the US is very much back in the news.

RATING: 2.5 out of 5

First published: 3 July 2016, 7:01 IST
Aleesha Matharu @almatharu

Born in Bihar, raised in Delhi and schooled in Dehradun, Aleesha writes on a range of subjects and worked at The Indian Express before joining Catch as a sub-editor. When not at work you can find her glued to the TV, trying to clear a backlog of shows, or reading her Kindle. Raised on a diet of rock 'n' roll, she's hit occasionally by wanderlust. After an eight-year stint at Welham Girls' School, Delhi University turned out to be an exercise in youthful rebellion before she finally trudged her way to J-school and got the best all-round student award. Now she takes each day as it comes, but isn't an eternal optimist.