MR JONES – Review by Kathia Woods
Mr. Jones is a timely film that focuses on a topic that we find ourselves once again grappling with: Truth in journalism. As our country is fighting for Democracy, accountability and truth, we too often find ourselves struggling to answer the question ‘how did we get here, to this troubled time in our history?’ Mr. Jones answers this question beautifully — but looking back to another troubled time in history when the subject in focus is the Soviet Union and the historic event is the Ukraine famine of 1932-33. Journalists have an opportunity to report the truth about a dire situation, however some choose to ignore it to benefit their personal comfort and position.
The titular Mr. Jones is real life Welsh journalist Gareth Jones. Mr. Jones was that rare breed of journalist who was interested in telling the truth — first about Hitler and then about Stalin.
Agnieszka Holland shot the film in doom-like scenery to help the viewer understand the coldness of communism. James Norton is very moving as Gareth Jones. You can’t’ help but want him to be heard. There is a restaurant scene where he meets George Orwell and we see that he cannot quite focus because he is surrounded by food, while it was only days ago that he witnessed starving people fighting for crumbs. Vanessa Kirby is also impressive as Ada Brooks, a fellow reporter and Mr. Jones’ love interest. Mr. Jones is a stark reminder of what happens when you chose not to tell the truth, and that’s a lesson we have yet to learn.