Tag Archives: John Sayles

John Sayles – Matewan (1987)

Independent filmmaker John Sayles creates one of his more artistic works with this period feature about a volatile 1920s labor dispute in the town of Matewan, West Virginia. Matewan is a coal town where the local miners’ lives are controlled by the powerful Stone Mountain Coal Company. The company practically owns the town, reducing workers’ wages while raising prices at the company-owned supply and grocery. The citizens’ land and homes are not their own, and the future seems dim. When the coal company brings immigrants and minorities to Matewan as cheaper labor, union organizer Joe Kenehan (Chris Cooper) scours the town to unite all miners in a strike. Read More »

John Sayles – Passion Fish (1992)

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Character and dialogue are the driving forces in writer-director John Sayles’ movies. In Passion Fish, Sayles delivers a quality screenplay, and Mary McDonnell and Alfre Woodard do his script justice with some of the most accomplished work of their careers. McDonnell — who also stood out in the director’s Matewan — brings surprising originality to the role of the haggard, self-pitying accident victim, and Woodard never becomes a stereotypical provider of “tough love.” Vondie Curtis-Hall and Sayles regular David Strathairn offer colorful supporting turns. Passion Fish was the director’s simplest, most elegant work since his second feature, 1983’s Lianna. McDonnell and Sayles would be nominated for Academy Awards, and Sayles would also be nominated for his screenplay. ~ Brendon Hanley, All Movie Guide Read More »