(2016) (Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw) (R)
- QUICK TAKE:
- Drama/Action: A disillusioned medic goes AWOL during the Civil War and then takes on the Confederacy with his growing band of supporters.
- It's 1862 and Newton Knight (MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY) is a Mississippi farmer working as a medic at a Confederate Army field hospital tending to the injured and dying. When a boy related to him, Daniel (JACOB LOFLAND), ends up killed in battle, Newton goes AWOL to return the boy's body to his family, stopping along the way to see his wife, Serena (KERI RUSSELL), and young son. Between him being wanted and the Confederates confiscating food and possession from the various farms across Jones County, she leaves with the boy. With him now wanted for desertion and more, the friendly locals help get Newton out of harm's way, and that's mainly to a dense swamp.
Delivered there by the slave George (TROY HOGAN), Newton is tended to by an escaped slave, Moses (MAHERSHALA ALI), who lives there with a small number of other such men. They're brought supplies by George as well as Rachel (GUGU MBATHA-RAW), a slave who works on a local plantation and is the bedroom favorite of its white owner. With things going badly for those fighting for the South, desertions increase, with Newton's friends Jasper (CHRISTOPHER BERRY) and Will (SEAN BRIDGERS) soon joining him, Moses and the rest in a commune sort of existence.
But Newton isn't content with simply living there, especially when there are wrongs to be avenged, including striking back at Lt. Barbour (BILL TANGRADI) and his small band of men who take more from civilians than is allowed by law. Those raids eventually draw the attention of Col. Hood (THOMAS FRANCIS MURPHY) who realizes they'll be ambushed should they head into the swamp, and thus tries to wait him out.
But Newton and his growing forces strike back and continue their rebellion against the Confederacy, winning more battles and taking control of increasing amounts of land. As they continue on that quest, they must contend with growing numbers of Confederate forces sent their way. And as that occurs, the story occasionally switches to one of Newton's descendants in the 1940s, Davis Knight (BRIAN LEE FRANKLIN), having to face possible jail time when it's discovered his partial black bloodline violates the law in terms of his marriage to a white woman.
- WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
- If they're into movies about the Civil War or are fans of anyone in the cast, they might have some interest.
- WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
- For brutal battle scenes and disturbing graphic images.
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