Mr. Jones Review

World War II is an era of time that world cinema continually keeps on going back to. Then again, so many tragic and inspiring stories came from the era that it takes numerous films to tell them all. The latest World War II-era film to be released is Mr. Jones.

Unfortunately, Mr. Jones isn’t the most attention-grabbing of films. The film continually drags and ultimately wastes the opportunity in telling Gareth Jones’s story.

Mr. Jones follows Gareth Jones, a man set on uncovering the truth behind Joseph Stalin’s perfect and flourishing Russia. His belief that Stalin is lying leads Jones on a journey to where he uncovers a startling truth—a truth that could cost him and his informant their lives.

Mr. Jones is essentially a tale of two different kinds of film. First of all, the film begins as a mystery thriller. Unfortunately, the mystery doesn’t quite ignite any interest because the subject matter isn’t that interesting. If you’re a Star Wars fan, think about how bored you felt hearing about trade politics in Episode I. That’s a similar feeling that you get with this film. At the same time, nothing interesting comes from the slow unveiling of Jones’ journey either.

The George Orwell connection is also an odd addition to the film. The connections are obvious, but for those unfamiliar with “Animal Farm,” then these references will go over their heads. At the same time, this blatant attempt to send a philosophical message to the audience doesn’t quite hit the target.

The film relies heavily on dialogue and establishing shots to tell Gareth Jones’ story. As a result, the film fails to elicit any sort of emotion and it also fails in properly pacing the film. So not only is the mystery boring but the scenes are long and drawn out too. It’s not a very exciting film until Jones reaches his destination and starts to figure everything out.

Despite all of these issues, Mr. Jones is an important watch. Not only for the exposure to this horrific event but also as a commentary on today’s news climate. It’s also at this point that things begin to get interesting. It’s shocking to see what Gareth Jones discovers. It’s the shocking moments that get you, but seeing these atrocities still won’t elicit any sort of sympathetic emotion. It’s a shock-and-awe kind of film.

In a way, it’s also a gonzo journalism-styled film because the film dives into the Holodomor through the experience of Gareth Jones. As a result, you see all of the nuances and see the narrative of what happened. Also, like gonzo journalism, he tries to get the truth and his story out there. If you’re unfamiliar with the Holodomor as I am, then this film is a suitable introduction to this tragic event.

Overall, Mr. Jones is a film that doesn’t necessarily grab your attention from beginning to end. The characters, story, and pacing all lack that cinematic touch fit for a story such as this. Yet the film does contain some important messages within this bland film. You’ll just have to force yourself to bypass all of the film’s issues to get to these important messages.

Rating: 2.5/5 atoms

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