Mr Jones : the crime against humanity of Stalin *** 1/2

Mr Jones : le crime contre l’humanité de Staline *** 1/2

Mr Jones : le crime contre l’humanité de Staline *** 1/2

James Norton in the role of Gareth Jones.

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June 16, 2020

Updated on June 19, 2020 at 4h17

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Mr Jones : the crime against humanity of Stalin *** 1/2

Mr Jones : le crime contre l’humanité de Staline *** 1/2

Mr Jones : le crime contre l’humanité de Staline *** 1/2

Eric Moreault

The Sun

CRITICAL / In 1933, Gareth Jones had already checked the name of Hitler on his list. The next ? Stalin ! The young journalist, ambitious, arrives in Moscow on a mission, but it will discover, in Ukraine, a crime against humanity. Agnieszka Holland has decided to tell his story, with a deep resonance in contemporary. Because the false news for propaganda purposes, does not date from yesterday.

At the beginning of Mr Jones, the soviet Union prosperous at the end of its first five-year plan. All countries find themselves on the straw because of the global economic crisis. Gareth Jones (James Norton), finds the situation strange, but as many intellectuals of the time, it is believed to be the cause of an egalitarian society.

His arrival in Moscow, where western journalists are confined, begins to open his eyes. His contact and friend on the spot has just been murdered. His meeting with the outrageous Walter Duranty (Peter Sarsgaard), a reporter for the New York Times, holder of a Pulitzer, more interested in orgies than to the facts, and convinced the English to abandon his interview with Stalin, and push his investigation in Ukraine.

Mr Jones : le crime contre l’humanité de Staline *** 1/2

In Moscow, Gareth Jones will meet with the sulphurous Walter Duranty (Peter Sarsgaard), a reporter for the NY Times , holder of a Pulitzer, more interested in orgies than to the facts

Photo By Robert Palka’s

Ada Brooks (Vanessa Kirby), the assistant and scribe ghost of Duranty, he strongly advises against. The quixotic Gareth Jones did not have cold eyes and speaks the language — his mother is in the country… He does that to his head.

Filmmaker seasoned, Agnieszka Holland turns his narrative with a lot of creativity, using beautiful camera movements (a long tracking shot that accompanies a race feverish Jones in the forest), or even accelerated, when the man hallucinates, plagued by hunger.

It would have however had to put a little more of his hand the scenario of Andrea Chaloupa, his first. The story get caught up sometimes in its progress, and borrows some shortcuts that diminish its credibility.

Fortunately, all fades and is a lot better when the young reporter manages to distort company at its apparatchik appointed and scampering away in the countryside of ukraine.

Jones is suspected of malpractice, but he wasn’t ready to find out what was waiting for him : villages emptied of their inhabitants, dead bodies abandoned in the streets, the destitution and extreme, the cannibalism… The children are left to fend for themselves. Some are even robbed of the little food that remained to him… hungry Belly has no ears !

Mr Jones : le crime contre l’humanité de Staline *** 1/2

Ada Brooks (Vanessa Kirby) is trying to convince Jones not to go to Ukraine.

Photo By Robert Palka’s

Some of the scenes are barely sustainable, despite that Holland never falls into voyeurism. On the contrary. The film describes the Holdomor, which has made millions of victims and that some do not hesitate to call genocide. Nowadays, in Ukraine, the trauma remains deep and almost taboo.

Mr Jones also highlights the powerful propaganda machine of Stalin, the diplomatic pressure that is being exerted on Gareth Jones to his back when he published his report in order to distort reality.

The film takes some liberties fictional. The film opens and closes with George Orwell writing animal farm. The author of 1984 would have been inspired by the story of Gareth Jones, he knew.

Is this true ? It doesn’t matter. That is, what are the facts, published by Gareth Jones, that exposes the famine that claimed an entire people. And also : the journalist would have been murdered by the NKVD (forerunner of the KGB) on the eve of her 30 years…

Mr Jones is available on iTunes, and the store of Cineplex Odeon ; video-on-demand from 3 July.

The generic

Rating : *** 1/2

Title : Mr Jones

Genre : biographical Drama

Director : Agnieszka Holland

Actors : James Norton, Vanessa Kirby, Peter Sarsgaard

Duration : 1h58

Le Soleil

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