Matewan

  • 1987
  • 2 HR 12 MIN
  • PG-13
  • Drama

Made for $4 million but looking as if it cost three times that, this is an excellent offering from one of America's best-known independent filmmakers, John Sayles (THE BROTHER FROM ANOTHER PLANET; EIGHT MEN OUT). As the film opens, Danny Radnor (Will Oldham), a 15-year-old coal miner, spreads the news that the Stone Mountain Coal Company of Matewan, West...read more

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Made for $4 million but looking as if it cost three times that, this is an excellent offering from one of America's best-known independent filmmakers, John Sayles (THE BROTHER FROM ANOTHER PLANET; EIGHT MEN OUT). As the film opens, Danny Radnor (Will Oldham), a 15-year-old coal miner,

spreads the news that the Stone Mountain Coal Company of Matewan, West Virginia, has decided to lower the tonnage rate paid the miners--again. A strike is called. Joe Kenehan (Chris Cooper), a pacifist and former Wobbly, is sent by the United Mine Workers to coordinate the action and to keep it

from becoming violent; however, a group of Italian immigrants continues to work, as do the black miners whom the company has brought from Alabama. A battle seems inevitable; but slowly the three factions grow into a community, and the strike spreads like wildfire. In MATEWAN Sayles captures the

feel of a 1930s Popular Front film but grounds it in the complex reality of a world that refuses to present easy choices. With Oscar winner Haskell Wexler acting as cinematographer, MATEWAN is beautifully shot, and there is not a weak performance in the film. Jones is a tower of dignity; Cooper is

the epitome of quiet strength; and Oldham glows with the passion of a zealot, first for God, then for the union.

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  • Released: 1987
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Review: Made for $4 million but looking as if it cost three times that, this is an excellent offering from one of America's best-known independent filmmakers, John Sayles (THE BROTHER FROM ANOTHER PLANET; EIGHT MEN OUT). As the film opens, Danny Radnor (Will Oldha… (more)

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