Matewan

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Matewan ★★★½ 1987 (PG-13)

An acclaimed dramatization of the famous Matewan massacre in the 1920s, in which coal miners in West Virginia, reluctantly influenced by union organizer Joe Kenehan (Cooper), rebelled against terrible working conditions. Complex and imbued with myth, the film is a gritty, moving, and powerful drama with typically superb Sayles dialogue and Haskell Wexler's beautiful and poetic cinematography. Jones delivers an economical yet intense portrayal of the black leader of the miners. Sayles makes his usual onscreen appearance, this time as an establishment-backed reactionary minister. Partially based on the Sayles novel “Union Dues.” 130m/C VHS, DVD . John Sayles, Chris Cooper, James Earl Jones, Mary McDonnell, William Oldham, Kevin Tighe, David Strathairn, Jace Alexander, Gordon Clapp, Mason Daring, Joe Grifasi, Bob Gunton, Jo Henderson, Jason Jenkins, Ken Jenkins, Nancy Mette, Josh Mostel, Michael B. Preston, Maggie Renzi, Frank Hoyt Taylor; D: John Sayles; W: John Sayles; C: Haskell Wexler; M: Mason Daring. Ind. Spirit ‘88: Cinematog.