Free State of Jones (2016)

A disillusioned Confederate army deserter returns to Mississippi and leads a militia of fellow deserters, runaway slaves, and women in an uprising against the corrupt local Confederate government.

Director: Gary Ross

Writers: Leonard Hartman (story), Gary Ross

Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mahershala Ali

Thomas Francis Murphy as Elias Hood


Ali and Mbatha-Raw are given enough room to develop personas independent of Knight that there’s little hint of the expected white-savior complex. But except for Thomas Francis Murphy’s silky work as a sneering Confederate villain, few of the secondary characters register. Subplots like Knight’s living simultaneously with Rachel and his estranged first wife Serena (Keri Russell) that could have alone made their own films are only barely sketched in.

By Chris Barsanti on Jun 23, 2016 Film Journal International

The terrific character actor Thomas Francis Murphy (“12 Years a Slave,” “Focus,” “Self/Less”) brings a Donald Sutherland-esque, casually slithery villainous touch to the role of the Confederate commander who counters Newton’s rebellion by hanging children and burning down farms.

By Richard Roeper on 06/23/2016 Chicago Sun Times

They fight and win. And keep winning, even staging a surprise attack on the Confederate forces at a funeral, where Knight pursues and kills the rebel commander (brilliantly played by Thomas Francis Murphy).

By Godfrey Cheshire on June 24, 2016 Roger Ebert .com

Thomas Francis Murphy is despicable as the villain Elias Hood, the Confederate commander who causes unnecessary tragedy.

By Lynn Venhaus on June 23, 2016 Belleville News-Democrat

The movie also features stellar work by Gugu Mbatha Raw, Maherhsala Ali, Keri Russell, Christopher Berry, Sean Bridgers, Jacob Lofland, and Thomas Francis Murphy. Despite the flaws and limitations of the film the actors absolutely shine and deliver performances worthy of a better film.

By Mark Saldana on June 24th, 2016 True View Reviews

Thomas Francis Murphy is formidable as the Confederate commander who opposes Knight, and Keri Russell is a welcome presence as Knight's wife but has little to do.

Bruce C Steele on June 25, 2016 Citizen Times