The plot of the film was interesting, but it wasn't anything special. The beginning has a rather large battle, but there is never a big battle after Knight forms the Free State of Jones, which disappointed me. There was only a series of small skirmishes, which weren't the most exciting. There was also a plot element involving a court case that revealed too much about the main plot before it actually happened. The protagonist was pretty well-developed, but the supporting characters weren't great. The antagonist was extremely one-sided. He was portrayed as excessively evil. The political views of the film are also a bit heavy-handed. Matthew McConaughey's performance is really the only thing that makes this film special at all. He shows a lot of emotion and delivers the lines well. Supporting actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw isn't very convincing, and has what is pretty much the only other role of substance.
The cinematography is decent, but it doesn't have the feeling of a Civil War-era film. A slightly grainier texture to it likely would have caused a little more absorption into the film. There are some pretty bad continuity areas. At one time, they take down the Confederate flag, and put up the American flag... with what looks to be all 50 stars. I didn't stop to count it, but it looked like it was far too many.
So overall, "Free State of Jones" isn't bad, but it isn't great either. I enjoyed McConaughey's performance, and it was interesting enough, but doesn't have anything making it worth rushing out for. It is really gory, so those who are squeamish should avoid it.
Free State of Jones
Big Tuna's Rating: C+
How Did I Watch It?: Digital that I own.
Had I Seen It Before?: No.
Would I Watch It Again?: Maybe.