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Hatfields & McCoys

Hatfields & McCoys (2012)

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All Critics (2) | Fresh (2) | Rotten (0)

An impressive production to say the least, Hatfields & McCoys is as exciting as it is lavish and beautiful.

August 10, 2012 Full Review Source: IGN DVD
IGN DVD

Despite some strong production values and performances, the sepia-toned saga ends up being more routine than standout, and more curious than compelling. It feels like something that could have been much more.

August 3, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Audience Reviews for Hatfields & McCoys

This is an excellent miniseries about one of the most legendary feuds in American Folklore. Brilliantly acted and directed, this a must watch for history buffs. Blending elements of a good old fashioned Western, drama and revenge film, Hatfields & McCoys is one of the best things to happen to the Western genre since the Coen Brothers True Grit. If you love the genre, then you're sure to enjoy this miniseries. The performances here are terrific, Kevin Costner delivers one of his strongest performances as "Devil" Anse Hatfield and Bill Paxton as Randolph McCoy is also very good here. Also another performance of note is that of Tom Berenger as Jim Vance, he made this series along with the two leads. This is a well crafted series that has a compelling story of hatred and revenge. There's so much tension throughout the series and though it's not action packed, the story makes up for its sometimes slow pace. There's a great cast here and like I said before, the leads are terrific, and make this series worth watching. If you're a fan of Westerns, definitely give this miniseries a shot. Brilliantly acted and with a compelling true story, this series is a well crafted in giving us a dramatized version of the feud that went down in history. Kevin Costner definitely shines here and the rest of the cast definitely give this series its unique appeal. Yes, it's slow, but the story just keeps you hooked and with such a great cast and effective directing from Kevin Reynolds, this miniseries is absolutely terrific.
August 4, 2012
TheDudeLebowski65
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

Man, if you thought that the family feuds in which Richard Dawson kissed female contestants on the mouth were dicomforting, then, well, the family feud portrayed in this series isn't quite that awkward, but it's still pretty intense. Seriously though, it's the ultimate western showdown between Wyatt Earp and Morgan Earp, who are feuding either to find out, once and for all, whether or not "Tombstone" really is better than "Wyatt Earp" (It's not; shut up you "Tombstone" overraters and "Wyatt Earp" underraters), or to determine which of them is most similar to Nicolas Cage. Kevin Costner's got the looks and Bill Paxton's got the voice, and seeing them together both makes me ponder upon Costner's and Paxton's never being in the same room with Nicolas Cage, and inspires me to applaud this series' technical team for making it seem as though Costner and Paxton really were physically interacting at times, seeing as how, in real life, they could never actually touch without merging into their true form: good ol' Nicky Cage. Hey, Cage rather suspiciously named one of his kids after Superman's birth name and can apparently control his hair at will, so he's a cloning ability away from officially outing himself as an alien. Forget the Hatfields and the McCoys, the real feud that will be discussed throughout the ages will be the intergalactic one between whatever Nicolas Cage is and Xenu, or, as he is known by the pathetically gullible earthlings, Tom Cruise, and it will be awesome. Still, until then, we're going to have settle with this family feud as the definitive one (Sorry, Mark Goodsman), which is just fine with me, because it sure does make for decent television. Still, as enjoyable as this sprawling western is (I don't know why they made this a miniseries and not a standalone feature film; a five-hour western film seems to be the next step for Costner), strengths find quite a few struggles in their feud against flaws.

Certainly, there's plenty of inspiration behind this relatively major basic cable production, yet only so much can be done to battle back television sensibilities, and sure enough, there come times in which this should-be more assured production slips into cheesiness, made all the worse by dialogue that isn't exactly consistently faulty, growing a little bit less problematic as the series progresses, whether it because of a progressive build in writing inspiration or simply because of your getting used to much of the dialogue, but never finds itself completely rid of undeniable fall-flat lines that pop in time and again, ranging from simply mediocre to rather distancingly cheesy and melodramatic. Histronic dialogue taints much within this series' depth, but isn't so much a standalone problem as much as it is simply a supplement to an even broader and more major aspect that goes tainted by melodrama: atmosphere, which, like the dialogue, isn't ceaselessly corned up, but still slips into much too many moments of overemphasized drama as a particular extreme that breaks up a consistent degree of subtlety limiting that never abates, manipulating anything from score work to superficial storytelling in an attempt to bluntly thrust you into depth, which only ends up being repelled because of the subtlety issues. Subtlety isn't exactly scarce, yet it isn't quite as rich as it should be, and awkwardness goes spawned from these atmospheric mishandlings, which can be found behind a story that, even on paper, isn't exactly handled slickly, because although the story concept is engaging enough to sustain an adequate degree of your investment, the structuring of the story in question is far from tight, or at least when it's not so tight that it slips into aimlessness, broken up by occasions of distancing hurrying and lapses in exposition. As you can imagine, throughout its five-hour course, this character study covers quite a bit of flesh-out, though not quite as much as it should, thus superficiality to storytelling goes further pronounced and disengages the audience, though not quite as much as an even more prevalent pacing issue: padding, because although this series is often tight to a fault, it much more often outstays its welcome through excess material and repetition that bland things up something considerably. Each episode of this series goes ever so blandly bloated, being extended well past the traditional one-hour time slot and into 90-100 commercial-less minutes of aimless momentum and other forms of distancing awkwardness that wouldn't be as pronounced as they are if it wasn't for the storytellers' wanting anything but awkwardness being perhaps too palpable. This series is an overambitious one, and such overwhelming ambition results in inspiration that gets the final product by, but also emphasizes the slip-ups and shortcomings, both natural and consequential, of the promising project, until the final product comes out as bloated, aimless and altogether underwhelming. Still, even with its missteps, this show remains, as I said earlier, "decent television", rich with flaws that undercut potential, but about as rich with strength that get you by and make the series an entertaining one, or at least a relatively well-produced one.

As much as they advertize this period piece western series as an "epic event", scope and dynamicity is relatively minimalist, and it's just as well, because although this series is certainly something of an event, we're talking about a television event on the History channel here, so you can expect limitations in both the quantity and quality of the production designs, yet not so many that it's easy to deny that what is delivered on by production designer Derek R. Hill is nothing short of commendable, with clever concepts, brought to believable life by intricate set decoration by Sally Black, whose skill goes rivaled only by Karri Hutchinson, whose costume designs further define the era and characters to which the distinct wardrobes belong. While there's only so much to the production designs, an era goes sold upon the viewers by clever production value, as sure as a notable style goes sold upon the viewers by also relatively quite commendable cinematography by Arthur Reinhart, which is also held back by the limitations of television sensibilities, but still accels reasonably noticeably, with a kind of handsome grit to its coloring that may not offer much detail to definition, but is still distinctly striking, particularly when it finds its share of magic moments in lighting that catch your eyes and help in defining the series' attractive artistic style. It might not quite be HBO good-looking, but this miniseries flaunts impressive visual artistry, accompanied by musical artistry by John Debney and Tony Morales, whose scoring efforts are hardly inventive, but impressive, nonetheless, and if you don't mind director Kevin Reynolds' manipulative mishandlings of musical atmosphere or, well, occasions of problematic sound editing by Emilie Boucek, you can expect good ol' fashion stylish and, at times, poignant western musicality that proves to be both musically lovely and supplementary to the livliness and what genuineness there is within this saga. I wish I could say that there is as much to praise about the substance as there is to praise about the style, and the style isn't even all that sensational in the first place, facing limitations and shortcomings that, of course, plague substance even more and, alongside actual storytelling hiccups, hold back a series that could have been so much more, but is still fairly decent, because as problematically handled as the story concept is in structural execution, the subject matter remains intriguing, with potential for depth that isn't as explored as it should, yet remains rich enough to hold your interest. Much of the series' intrigue is spawned from the mere concept, and that's unfortunate, but the fact of the matter is that this series' concept is worthy, so much so that it sustains your interest, even without a whole lot of kick to directorial execution, and when Kevin Reynolds' directorial kick does, in fact, kick in, the series really engages, with effectiveness and livliness that can still be found to some degree throughout the series, not just because of Reynolds' palpable ambition and entertainment value, but because of the performances, to a certain degree. Now, I'm not asking for "Angels in America" here, but this series' acting material is limited, and when it does arrive, it is sometimes tainted by a lack of genuineness that could have easily made a performance look bad, were it a performance by someone of less talent than the performers within this hefty cast, because although performances aren't exactly revelatory, most every cast member convinces, selling you on the titular components to this character study more than the writers and directors, thus making for an engaging cast that leads this series as well as it can. It's a shame that the performances and other strengths can only carry the final product so far, though it's not like the series is dropped off at a dissatisfying point, being flawed to no end and ultimately underwhelming, but still with enough juice to back up a worthy story concept and make an entertaining series, if though it could have been and deserves to be more.

To conclude this feud, dialogue faults much too often, though not as often as atmosphere faults, ranging from overemphatic to all-out melodramatic, but being consistently unsubtle either way, with genuineness limiting that blands things up, almost as much as the problematic pacing and aimless momentum that, alongside overambition, further spark the awkwardness that renders the final product underwhelming, though hardly a disaster, because as flawed as the series is, it boasts impressive production desgins, striking visual style and fine score work to compliment a story concept that's interesting enough to ignite immediate intrigue, fed by the myriad of engaging performances that help in making "Hatfields & McCoys" an entertaining study on a legendary clash of clans, even with there being only so much spark.

2.5/5 - Fair
December 21, 2012
Cameron W. Johnson
Cameron Johnson

Super Reviewer

These families hated the crap out of each other lol. This was a truly fascinating look at a this famous feud that I admittedly knew very little about, and the quality of the production was top notch. Props to Kevin Costner and the history channel for getting it done.
July 14, 2012
toejambaseball24
Jared H

Super Reviewer

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