Other Sellers on Amazon
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Top Customer Reviews
Others here have mentioned the film's amazing cinematograhy, fine performances (indierockers note: a young Will Oldham -- aka singer/songwriter Bonnie "Prince" Billy -- has a featured role) and stirring story. But it bears repeating that this digital transfer is *atrocious*. The film is presented in "full-screen" format, lopping off the edges of Haskell Wexler's beautiful frames. Celluloid scratches and "reel change" hole-punches are visible throughout. And the sound, if you can believe it, is worse -- it's in hissy, almost inaudible MONO, for God's sake!
Zero commentaries. Almost no bonus extras, unless you count a few panels of "production notes."
Not worth a purchase. Wait for the morons at Artisan to get their collective act together and give this fine film the gold-star release it deserves.
The pace is slow as the story unfolds, each actor giving depth to his or her role. The Union is represented as a good and unifying force for the diverse types of people caught up in the drama. The company is represented as bad. Really bad. Not only did they exploit their workers and push people out of their homes, they also did not stop at brutal murder. There were enough personal stories to keep the film interesting although I found some of the speeches a little long and talky. It was all about mood and bleakness and John Sayles sure is a master of setting the mood. Most of the extras in the film lived in the area of Appalachia where it was shot and the close-ups of their faces added to the film's authenticity.
One of the problems was that the transfer of the film to DVD wasn't done well. The sound was muffled and some of the words were indistinct. And the shots set in the forest were so dark that it was hard to tell what was going on. I enjoyed the film although I thought it was too long. Followers of John Sayles work will enjoy it though, as well as those with an interest in union struggle.
Life in the coal towns is portrayed realistically and the film color is a marvel. The guards really did throw people out of their homes. Around 1912 there is a documented story that during the Paint Creek - Cabin Creek strikes, one miner's wife, in labor, was thrown out of her house. She pleaded to be allowed to first have her child, but the guards threated to shoot her if she didn't leave the house. She gave birth a couple of hours later in a UMWA tent. So remember when you watch this film that other indignities and unspeakable acts occurred in these mine fields - Sayles gives you a good taste of the unfortunate circumstances.
Good reading for those interested in learning more after seeing Matewan might be David Alan Corbin's "Life, Work, and Rebellion in the Coal Fields." Matewan is discussed several times in his book. (I have no affliation). You will learn more about how every aspect of a miner's life was controlled by the company - for instance, lessons taught at the company-operated school were designed to educate the children in mining methods and hazards.
Matewan touches upon these issues but of course not everything can be shown in one movie.
I'm glad this movie was produced to educate others about the miner's plight. It's an excellent addition to anyone's collection. Too bad it was never publicized enough to make it more mainstream.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
GREAT VIDEO, EVERYONE SHOULD WATCH IT TO SEE HOW THE COAL MINERS SUFFERED AT THE HANDS OF THE MINE OWNERS AND THE CORRUPTION WITHIN THE GOVERNMENT TO SUPPORT THE MINE OWNERS... Read morePublished 7 days ago by Dennis T. Eck
I'll bet you haven't seen this. This gem came out a couple decades ago and has a great cast. If you like Hatfield trivia this is a good one too. The gun fight is great. Read morePublished 1 month ago by San Diego
I'm pleased with the quality of the movie. I'm more pleased with the quality of service. I will definitely recommend and use again.Published 2 months ago by catrp
I had to get the widescreen version somewhere else, but it was worth the wait. The movie is astounding in it;s photogaphy and scope. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Money is debt
if you haven't seen it, you're missing a great docu-drama about why unions were so importantPublished 2 months ago by Michael Moore
Had ancestors that lived in this town and witnessed the events. Good cast.Published 2 months ago by Azboneman
|Topic||From this Discussion|
|2002 remastered release?||
Would LOVE to see a re-release; just watched it - it being the 1999 Artisan Entertainment DVD release. Audio is a travesty; waayy low volume, no articulation, hissy. This is a great movie waiting for proper DVD treatment.
Feb 22, 2009 by T. Kammerer | See all 2 posts
The flag has nothing to do with it, but it does add some color. The distance between the Confederacy and the establishment of the mine workers' union is vast, so I wonder how the two were related.
Jun 20, 2008 by Robert M. Baker | See all 2 posts
This is an old post, but I thought I would reply anyhow. Perhaps I can see where they accents may be difficult in some foreign counttries, but I find it difficult to believe that any American born in this country would have any problem understanding what is being said even with a fuzzy... Read More
Aug 1, 2008 by Karen Shaub | See all 3 posts
|Confederate Flag?||Be the first to reply|