Robert F. Kennedy Jr. beamed from the big screen this weekend, featured prominently in documentary filmmaker Bill Haney’s latest film, “The Last Mountain,” which opened Friday to positive reviews in New York and Washington, D.C.
Inspired by Kennedy’s 2004 book, “Crimes Against Nature,” the film tells the story of a mountain, as of yet untouched by the destructive power of “Big Coal” and the controversial “mountaintop removal” coal-mining technique. Detailing a range of issues surrounding the Appalachian industry, from health and safety to the future of the American economy, the film homes in on coal company Massey Energy, which owned and operated the mine in West Virginia where 29 miners were killed in April 2010 in a methane gas explosion.
Haney told The Washington Post that while he did interview then-Massey President Don Blankenship for the film, he didn’t use many of his comments “because it looks like you’re mocking the guy.”
The film opens in Los Angeles on June 15. —BF
The Washington Post:
The movie’s credibility is boosted by the weakness of its opposition: Massey Energy has been on the retreat since the April 2010 disaster at its Upper Big Branch mine, where 29 miners were killed as the result of a methane-gas explosion.
“One of the horrors of making this movie,” Haney says, “was that when we plumbed Massey’s safety standards, you could feel it was going to happen again. And then it did.”
Former Massey president Don Blankenship, a global-warming denier who resigned after the catastrophe, does appear in the documentary. But Haney says he didn’t use many of his remarks “because it looks like you’re mocking the guy.”