Hatfields & McCoys (2012)
 
Reviewer: Rissi C.
 
This was something I actually wanted to see… until I started watching it.
 
In the horrors of war, Randall McCoy (Bill Paxton) and Anse “Devil” Hatfield (Kevin Costner) were friends. They fought side by side towards the latter part of the Civil War and watched out for each other, working together to save an entire company of men they led into battle from an enemy ambush. The one willing to stay behind, Anse barely escapes with his life while Randall safely gets the men away. Tired of watching the young soldiers he takes into battle die, and weary of being responsible for their lives, Anse calls it quits that same night and rides off to Randall’s shouts of desertion.
 
His arrival home finds his wife, Levincy (Sarah Parish) happy to see him;no longer will she have to raise their small children on her own at their West Virginia home. Taking up his work again, Anse gets his logging business up and running and before the war is over makes a comfortable living. Then Randall returns home. Not quite right since his return, his wife Sally (Mare Winningham) is worried about her husband’s ability to re-adjust to life on their Kentucky farm. Furious at the rumors that it was Anse’s uncle Jim Vance (Tom Berenger) who murdered his brother, Randall refuses to even acknowledge Anse’s handshake, let alone strike up their former friendship and a vicious feud is set into motion between the two families.
 
Anse’s attempts to set their differences right go array when his eldest, impulsive son Johnse (Matt Barr) falls for Randall’s girl Roseanna (Lindsay Pulsipher) and his own brother is murdered by three of Randall’s sons.
 
It takes a lot for me to really like a historical miniseries. Partly this is because despite my best intentions, I'm not the most avid history aficionado and partly because a certain skill behind the camera (and in front of it) is required to make most events in history seem interesting. This History Channel series is too slow-moving and “dry” for its own good, though there is purpose to its pace. I do not know anything about these events but did know it was inspired by real people. This adaptation takes liberties and is a dramatization above all else. The best thing about it is the phenomenal cast. In addition to the aforementioned, there is Powers Boothe, Noel Fisher, Nick Dunning and Jena Malone. Authenticity as far as costumes and sets go seemed to be something set and costume designers strived for period exact landscapes and a cast of characters that “fit” the mold of 1800’s America. The costuming always seemed right and suited its characters well while the landscapes and structures fit the scene set-ups and creates the right frame of mind for the audience, almost transplanting us into the world of the Hatfields and McCoys.
 
Unfortunately, I didn’t find this series compelling enough to say it is something everyone should see once. It is interesting in many of the nuances and the production quality is excellent but there is something lacking in its premise. History or not, there is little point to it. This clocks in at four-and-a-half hours, divided into three parts. Irrespective of its record-breaking ratings, that span of time is riddled with nothing but a feud that really had no basis and comes across as pointless as its confusing run of characters the script introduces, regrettably quite poorly.

 

Rated: TV-MA

  

Our Rating: 3 out of 5

  

Sexual Content:

Implied extra-marital sex in two or more instances, one resulting in pregnancy; some nudity involving a far out shot of a couple jumping into the river naked.

  

Language:

The script is littered with profanities; commonplace profanities like h*ll, sh*t, da*n are used including GD and perhaps some stronger swear words plus some crudities coupled with the language.

  

Violence:

Dozens of people die; some children, others without court trials. People are shot, stabbed and hanged. There is usually a disgusting amount of blood – some characters are injured and must have bullets pulled out of them. One man is scalped.


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