John Sayles’ coal strike epic is grand American filmmaking bolstered by fine Haskell Wexler cinematography, great performances by dedicated actors, and a screenplay that avoids the common pitfalls of liberal filmmaking — by assuming the structure of an action Western. Filmed on a shoestring not far from the site of historical events, the pro- Union picture revs up viewer emotions, winding up as a moving, satisfying experience. Matewan’s been out of circulation far too long, but those that remember it will give it a high recommendation. And the great cast (all looking extra-young): Chris Cooper, James Earl Jones, Mary McDonnell, Will Oldham, David Strathairn, Kevin Tighe, Gordon Clapp, Bob Gunton, Jace Alexander, Joe Grifasi, Nancy Mette, Josh Mostel & Maggie Renzi. Matewan’s been out of circulation far too long, but anybody who remembers it will give it a high recommendation. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.