“The Last Mountain” Review
“The Last Mountain” is a traditional American tale of good, evil, and the Kennedys. It is a probing look at the coal industry, focusing on mountain top removal in the Appalachian Mountains. Mountain top removal was illegal until the second half of George W. Bush’s administration, when the EPA edited the Clean Water Act so that the coal industry, a generous patron to Bush’s presidential campaign, could sneak by. The results have been devastating in West Virginia; the filmmakers go into towns where brain cancer afflicts each household, and the mountains themselves are as flat as parking lots. “Moonscapes,” is Robert Kennedy, Jr.’s preffered term. Kennedy, an environmental lawyer, has become a vocal advocate against the coal industry, especially in West Virginia. The film profiles a few local activists, long-term residents of Appalachia who risk arrest on a biweekly basis. In one scene, a woman in a wheelchair is rolled out of a protest by a state trooper. The activist in attendance at the premiere received a standing ovation.
It’s an informative film – the type of doc with lots of charts and factual intertitles – but completely watchable, exquisitely shot and with a beautiful soundtrack. It’s yet to receive a distribution. Hopefully whoever buys it will make it required national viewing.
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