Free State of Jones stars Matthew McConaughey as Newt Knight (what a cool name), a soldier for the confederate army who, for reasons I won't spoil, returns home only to be accused of being a deserter. On the run, Knight runs into a group of runaway slaves taking shelter at a swamp. Together, Knight and the slaves build a rebellion to fight against the unfair ways of Confederate Government. Sounds like film of the year potential, right? Oh boy, is that statement false, as this film is a boring and creatively mute experience that I can not recommend unless you're a history teacher, which really shouldn't be the case with such a historically important story.
The script juggles a lot and doesn't do a great job at it, but the real problem is this film isn't very well made. Gary Ross brings no style to this film. It's not that I want a film with this subject matter to have the style of Kingsman, I just don't want to feel like I'm watching a crappy, low budget History Channel Special. He does some interesting things with time jumps and photographs, but it's nothing that is going to effectively keep your attention. The film is also way too long, and it just doesn't need to be. It's horribly paced and feels 4 hours long. There are some scenes that just feel so obvious and pointless that they should have been cut completely from the film to tighten it up a bit.
Overall, this film is not worth your time. It isn't truly an awful movie, but it's just so boring and uninspired that you would be better off reading historical summaries of the events. Hell, even writing this review was boring and difficult for me to sit through. It has a great cast and it isn't a total train wreck, but this is still not a movie that you should check out.