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A Few Words About A few words about...™ Free State of Jones -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Sep 10, 2016.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    As a bit of a history buff, I thought that I knew most of the salient facts about the Civil War.

    Saw the Ken Burns doc.

    Read Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals, Shelby Foote's incredible three-volume tome on the subject.

    Visited many of the locations.

    Nope.

    Not only was I not fully aware of the history of Jones County, Mississippi, or the Free State of Jones, I knew nothing, and had never even heard of Newton Knight.

    This is something not taught in high school history.

    Now I know.

    The basics. Knight, played beautifully by Matthew McConaughey in Gary Ross' film, was a Confederate soldier, apparently working as a medic, who not only deserts, but leads an uprising of non-plantation owners, and runaway slaves. He takes on the Confederate army, successfully freeing major areas for the North.

    One of the most interesting areas of fact in the film, is that after the war, the state created new laws, enabling former slave-owners, to accomplish the same function, using different words. Who knew?

    The film deals with the era of reconstruction, the Klan, the vote, and continued problems, with secondary plot in the 1940s.

    There are two shots in the film that I found amazing. As I recall the sequence begins with fire, and then a long shot of Klansmen riding to foreground -- a reminder by cinematographer Benoit Delhomme of another work, a century before, as photographed by Billy Bitzer. A dark, and menacing shot that makes its point, and proves, once again, that quality cinema can say volumes with images.

    I've now read the reviews, and once again, find myself disagreeing with many critics. For me, the film worked on multiple levels, and made an especially strong case against slavery, something that didn't work for me in the re-make of Roots, which I tried to watch. That series failed for me on several levels.

    Wonderful acting from Gugu Mbatha-Raw (a new face to me), Mahershala Ali, and Keri Russell.

    Shot on an Alexa, and finished as a DI, Universal's Blu-ray is perfect. Audio in DTS-HD MA adds terrific ambiance, especially in exterior sequences.

    Image - 5

    Audio - 5

    4k Up-rez - 5

    Pass / Fail - Pass

    Highly Recommended

    RAH
     
    Stephen_J_H and PMF like this.
  2. Message #2 of 6 Sep 16, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2016
    PMF

    PMF Producer

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    And, for those who didn't know, Shelby's brother was Horton Foote.
    Thanks for bringing our attention to this film; I'm looking forward it.
     
  3. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    Was this even in theaters? How come I've never heard of it? Definitely my kind of movie.
     
  4. rdimucci

    rdimucci Stunt Coordinator

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    The film lasted about a month in the theaters and grossed about $20 million against its $50 million budget. A decent historical drama, but you've got to like Matthew McConaughey, as he's in about every scene.
     
  5. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Yes, I was one of the few people that viewed this film in a movie theater. I thought it was a fine film that had some brutal battle scenes in the beginning which probably turned off some people. I will be buying this disc! As to Gugu Mbatha-Raw, she's been on my radar screen for a few years now, ever since she co-starred in a short-lived TV series. A fine actress and a beautiful woman too. McConaughey is very good in this film and I always liked him too as an actor.
     
  6. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I believe they were cousins, but not brothers. Their great grandfathers were brothers.
     

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