Free State of Jones

A disillusioned Confederate army medic walks away from the Civil War and forms an armed militia of fellow deserters, women and slaves, and declares Jones County, Mississippi an independent state. A grim and dogged Matthew McConaughey heads up a superb cast that includes Gugu Mbatha Raw and Mahershala Ali. It’s a fine history lesson that starts out gangbusters but loses focus two thirds in when director Gary Ross (Pleasantville, Seabiscuit, The Hunger Games) opts to continue the story into Reconstruction and adds a decades-later subplot, and it all becomes a bit of a well-intentioned slog. Japanese title: Newton Knight: The Man Who Flew the Flag of Freedom. (139 min)