‘Free State of Jones’ Trailer: Matthew McConaughey Turns Against the Confederacy
The Oscars aren’t until February, but we already have a potential contender for next awards season, sort of, with the first trailer for Free State of Jones. From Hunger Games director Gary Ross comes a new Civil War-era film starring Matthew McConaughey as a confederate soldier who turns against his southern brethren and attempts to establish a free state in Mississippi. Yes, it’s another installment in the “a white man will save us all” genre, but as usual, McConaughey is running on all cylinders.
Set during the Civil War, the film centers on southern farmer and confederate soldier Newt Knight (McConaughey), who goes rogue after witnessing one too many pointless deaths. Knight takes up arms against the Confederacy and tries to turn Mississippi into a free state against the wishes of many of his fellow southerners, leading his very own revolution. Free State of Jones looks to be shot very well, and there’s some great, harrowing action in the opening of the trailer, but that whole “white man savior” thing is a bit played out — particularly when films like 12 Years a Slave and Selma exist.
Here’s the official synopsis:
Written and directed by four-time Oscar nominee Gary Ross (The Hunger Games, Seabiscuit, Pleasantville), and starring Oscar® winner Matthew McConaughey, Free State of Jones is an epic action-drama set during the Civil War, and tells the story of defiant Southern farmer, Newt Knight, and his extraordinary armed rebellion against the Confederacy. Banding together with other small farmers and local slaves, Knight launched an uprising that led Jones County, Mississippi to secede from the Confederacy, creating a Free State of Jones. Knight continued his struggle into Reconstruction, distinguishing him as a compelling, if controversial, figure of defiance long beyond the War.
Ross has a decent cinematic track record, though Pleasantville is arguably his best film to date.