A story from the Civil War times is always a charming tale. It has tragedy yes. It may have a lot of ugly scenes yes. But more importantly, it will have a lot of history. Plus it had an Oscar winner in Matthew McConaughey playing Newt Knight and a 4-time Oscar nominee Gary Ross at the helm. Yet, the movie lacks soul. It is based on the story of a man who is disillusioned by the Southerners' struggle thereby picking up arms and launching a mini-rebellion of his own to free his own state of Jones County, Mississippi with an army of farmers and not more, against local corrupt government run by the Confederates.
However, McConaughey who has played numerous grim and grave roles with his own elan and swagger turns dour and sour leaving you a little bored. The action scenes are good but historical movies need tactical moments, great dialogues and great characters who can rally around the central character. A very long movie by US standards, the movie doesn't even make an attempt to indulge the audiences indulging instead its central character and his evolution. That would be not so bad an idea if there was a proper connection between all the unravelling events but that doesn't happen either as the movie keeps shying away from key and critical questions. The last time I saw a movie of a similar time was Lincoln, quite a while ago and I am afraid this one has corrupted a few good memories. Nevertheless, if you do have the patience, it is better than a lot of Bollywood 2.5 hour crappy projects delivered without fail each week!