The Last Mountain, a documentary directed by Bill Haney, will make you mad. You will step out of the theatre ready to write a letter to the government, and spend the night researching how to get involved in this issue. This is how you know a documentary is effective.
The film focuses on the terrifying ecological and political issue of mountain-top removal along the Coal River Valley in West Virginia. The film’s main focus is on plans to extract coal from Coal River Mountain, the last mountain still intact in the valley.
This is a battle of the big guys (Big coal and Massey Energy) versus the little guys (residents of Coal River Valley), and it is evident that the big guys have been winning. Truth is the carelessness of the big guys is affecting all of the little guys in America, not just those in Appalachia.
The evidence of the extreme toll that coal and mountain-top removal has taken on Americans living in areas affected by mountain-top removal is there, but it seems as though the health defects and loss of innocent lives are still being ignored.
Not only does this film show the immediate effects mountain-top removal has on the health of individuals and the environment in West Virginia, it also expands into a discussion on America's tremendous consumption of resources and energy. The film prominently displays these large issues, but also offers solutions that could help solve them.
By the film’s end, it becomes evident that the battle is based on the greed and lack of environmental concern that the large coal businesses, AKA “big guys,” exhibit. The only way to make change is for the little guys, AKA us, to fight back.
Find more information on The Last Mountain here.