This film follows a Confederate deserter by the name of Newton Knight (Matthew McConaughey) as he establishes a safe haven for other deserters, runaway slaves and freedmen in Jones County, Mississippi during the Civil War.
The main saving grace of this movie is its cast. Matthew McConaughey does a good job portraying Newton Knight. The supporting cast, which consists of the likes of Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Mahershala Ali, is also impressive despite not having a lot to work with.
However, “Free State of Jones” has no plot, it just meanders all over the place. Although the movie was almost two and a half hours long, it felt a lot longer due to its slow pace. At certain points throughout the movie, there is a courtroom scene taking place 85 years after the Civil War involving the great-great-great grandson of Newton Knight. I felt that this particular scene added nothing to this movie and was just there to pad up the overall running time. If that scene was taken out of the movie, it wouldn’t impact the rest of the movie.
Overall, this movie is Oscar bait. However, it’s not the good kind of Oscar bait, it’s the pandering type of Oscar bait.