The Last Mountain (2011)
Bill Haney's ecological documentary The Last Mountain traces the horrific ecological fallout from the practice of mountain-top removal that has been employed throughout West Virginia. The filmmakers show how local communities, with the help of such national figures in ecology as Robert F. Kennedy Jr., stand up to industries that are making decisions harmful to their lives. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
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Critic Reviews for The Last Mountain
You can't look at those manmade scars and not feel your blood boil, and that anger flows throughout Bill Haney's fiery documentary "The Last Mountain."
The picture is as grim as the wasteland that remains after the "mountain top removal" process undertaken by coal companies to reveal the rich seams of coals that lie underneath.
Bill Haney's searing indictment of coal mining-especially the mountain top variety-is a timely reminder of the dangers of relying on non-renewable energy resources to keep most of our electricity requirements on the grid.
Bite-size facts about mountaintop mining are splashed on the screen, but no substantiating sources are for the information are credited.
An even tone and attention to detail compensate for a lack of dissenting voices, and make "The Last Mountain" a compelling examination of a complex topic.
When you see a 91-year-old woman in a flag-draped wheelchair arrested for daring to challenge Massey's policies at the governor's office, you can't help but feel you're witnessing an American tragedy.
The coal industry's tactics are appalling. But to a lesser extent so is this.
As Bill Haney's infuriating, straightforward documentary argues, the coal industry is not only poisoning our air and water but our democracy as well.
Eye-opening, ire-raising...an important account of a disastrous situation. One of the five best documentaries of 2011.
...once director Haney begins to include Robert Kennedy Jr. in his film he can't seem to stop and the film begins to seem more like a campaign piece than what he set out to do.
Bill Haney wears his angry heart on his sleeve with a film about the environment and its destruction through greed.
Audience Reviews for The Last Mountain
Documentary on the environmental effects of mountaintop removal coal mining in Coal Mountain, West Virgina. The mountaintop removal process has little to recommend it, but unfortunately so does this suprisingly dull and disorganized polemic.More
"The Last Mountain" is an insightful and well-photographed documentary, especially in its opening shot of a pristine wilderness followed closely by a smokestack. The subject here is coal mining with a focus on Coal River Mountain in West Virginia which is being targeted for mountain top mining which is the quickest and most cost efficient way to get at the coal. But there is a hidden cost because it destroys the mountain and endangers the health of those living below through flooding and carcinogens. This is not a purely local issue either as the power from the coal mined there supplies a good deal of the eastern United States.
"The Last Mountain" fares best when it focuses on people living near the affected mountains along with local activists fighting the coal company's destructive efforts. I know Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has his role to play in the access and attention he gets but this is never really his story. Whereas like any good activist, I appreciate acts of civil disobedience, it would probably be best for a grass roots effort to educate the local workers about coal's ill effects and remind them that they are not out to cost them their jobs while also looking to unionize them. Also, they can support candidates who will challenge the coal companies. And I like the emphasis on renewable energy like wind farms which demonstrate some hope for the future.
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