The word I want to use to describe this movie is muddled.
This movie felt like they were excited to get Matthew McConaughey so they rewrote it a bunch of times and as a result the story felt apart. They could have easily made 2 different movies about this story, and that is sort of what they did, the put 2 sort of incomplete stories together and tried to string them together into one movie.
If you’ve seen the preview for this movie you know what the first half of the movie is about. I thought that was going to be the whole movie. That would have been a good movie. McConaughey is a nurse soldier and runs away from war and gets into fights with the army then runs away into the woods then becomes a rebel then the war is over. That is not the end of the movie. They follow some of the characters after the war and you see what America is like after the war in the south that is still “set in their ways.” Throughout the movie there are random court scenes that are trying to tie the story together (because it turns out McConauhey’s son something something third act). A good story would have made it go from A to B to C. This movie went through the whole alphabet. If this movie focused on just the war time “Free State of Jones” that would have been great. If this movie focused on the post war struggles of the ex-slaves in racist Mississippi that would have been great too. The movie just felt like it didn’t know exactly what it wanted to tell me about.
I cared about some the characters for a while, but when the movie didn’t end and it kept going i started to lose interest.
Sprinkled throughout the movie were real historical pictures which made it at times feel like it wanted to be a historical documentary. While these were cool to see they took me out of the movie and reminded me that I was watching a Hollywood movie and not a documentary.
Also MM had a pube beard.
My dislike for this movie had nothing to do with the fact that there was a buzzing speaker throughout the whole movie, but that sucked.
The main lesson of the movie basically turns out to be that you should vote because look at what how they fought to get that right. Oh also it’s ok to vote republican because of Abraham Lincoln so if you wanna vote Trump… go for it.
TLDR: 2/5. Didn’t like it. The movie didn’t know what it wanted to be.
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Steven Richard K is the host of the Search for a Cohost podcast (www.searchforacohost.com) and a member of the sketch group Mister Bismuth. Mister Bismuth performs Live at Improv Boston Thursday 7/7 and 7/14. Buy your tickets today!
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