Matewan (1987)

A vast improvement over John Sayles’ previous efforts, Matewan explores the personal and political dimensions of union-making and union-breaking in West Virginia’s coal mines of the 1920s.  A complex study of individual integrity and community solidarity, the film was assisted by Haskell Wexler’s luminous cinematography of Appalachian locations and Mason Daring’s blue-grass soundtrack.  However, Sayles’ unabashed homage to the martyr years of American labor was not sufficiently engaging from a dramatic standpoint. 

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