I was looking forward to seeing the film "Free State of Jones" starring Matthew McConaughey primarily because of my interest in African American history here in the United States. I had some anxiety about the length of the film (2 hour and 19 minutes) but if it was good (a la say "Lincoln" I as going to be okay (plus having a can a soda and a 5 hour energy right before couldn't hurt). Yes, this movie is based on a true story.
The opening 10 minutes took you right to a Civil War battle field and the gruesome relentless of the battle injuries a la "Saving Private Ryan" It took you right to that time and place in short and got the viewers undivided attention. Within short we see McConaugney who plays Mississippian farmer, Newton Knight, who is a medical transport person on the battle field. Essentially he runs onto the battlefield with one of the gizmos with 2 poles and a piece of material in-between; loads the injured solder and drags him back to the medical tent.
Remember this is the Civil War (early 1860's) and this medical tent puts the C in crude. Sawing off body parts, treating less wounded officers while letting very wounded soldiers to die etc. Blood is everywhere as are dying soldiers.
Though from a Confederate state, Knight is opposed to slavery and has no problem deserting the war when his nephew dies in front of him. Now an outlaw, he gets quite hurt escaping the authorities. He is forced to hide out in the swap with a group of escaped slaves where he is safe.
Together, but led by Knight's quiet leadership and savvy battle skills, the southern farmers and the slaves form a most unexpected alliance. Their rebellion plays a big role in the shape of the war and more importantly the history of the south.
A very well done and educational film. McConaughey quietly grabs the screen and doesn't let go. This was one of the better movies of the year and very much recommend. This film tells a fascinating and very unknown piece of history.