Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Future Of Film
The 100 Greatest Video Games
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Kevin Feige:
My Movie Life

The Marvel supremo's pick of the flicks
Want To Be An Empire Journalist?
Find out how here
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

PACKSHOT
Hatfields & McCoys

BOX SET DETAILS
Released
26 November 2012
Certificate
15
Distributor

LATEST TV REVIEWS
Fargo
4 Star Empire Rating
24: Live Another Day
3 Star Empire Rating
Penny Dreadful
4 Star Empire Rating
Trip To Italy, The
4 Star Empire Rating
Nashville: Season 1 & 2
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Veep: Season 2
5 Star Empire Rating
Games of Thrones: Season 3
5 Star Empire Rating
Breaking Bad: The Complete Series
5 Star Empire Rating
30 Rock: Season 6
5 Star Empire Rating
Game Of Thrones: Season 2
5 Star Empire Rating

Hatfields & McCoys


submit to reddit

Review
The titular family names will probably mean little to anyone either not American or even American and below pensionable age, but in the late 1800s, these two clans began a feud that escalated into all-out war, left many of their number dead and even altered US law. Kevins Costner and Reynolds have ended their own Waterworld feud to make this doughty, (mostly) factual mini-series, which won Costner an acting Emmy.

In terms of plot, this is essentially Dallas in shabbier hats. There are skirmishes over land rights, people being (frequently literally) shot in the back for minor slurs, two attractive young sorts from opposing sides beginning a romance that can only possibly be doomed, apparently benign matriarchs being terribly cruel when the world’s cheek is turned, and scores typically being settled in a public place where there is drink readily to hand, to either be thrown back aggressively or just thrown.

As with any story that stretches close to five hours, there are surges and lulls in the pacing. The young lovers (Matt Barr and Lindsay Pulsipher), while terribly good-looking and able, are given a lot of the run time for what is quite a wishy-washy arc, full of tears and pleading and being earnest in the rain. What keeps it interesting is that the family war, which ran for several decades, has been largely boiled down to a series of confrontations, richly scripted by Bill Kerby, Ted Mann and Ronald Parker, and hotly staged by Reynolds, though the ‘ye olde worlde’ tone to the photography feels an uninteresting choice.

Of course, if you’re going to rely heavily on people glowering at each other then it helps to have a cast who can be larger than life without resorting to gnawing at the scenery. Costner is marvellously evil as Devil Anse Hatfield, with Bill Paxton quieter but no less impressive as his opposite equal, Randall McCoy. Tom Berenger, Mare Winningham, Jena Malone and Sarah Parish all swell notably in their supporting roles. There’s real talent in the unknown names too, while the smattering of ex-EastEnders stars (Beppe di Marco!) should amuse British viewers and provide grist for an excellent drinking game.

It wears the clothes of historical drama but this is soap opera to its bones. And when the technical skills and acting are this strong, there’s no shame in that.


Reviewed by


Extras

Hatfields & McCoys Hatfields & McCoys
Released: 26 November 2012
A 30-minute ‘making of’ is the standard collection of talking heads, though it doesn’t really go into any depth. There’s also a music video, with Costner and his band belting out maudlin country song I Know These Hills.

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Empire's Interstellar Newsstand Cover Has Arrived
Plus a full preview of what you'll find inside our brand new issue

The Future Of Film: British Film Will Thrive (If Tax Breaks Allow)
Or how Harry Potter saved the British film industry, and could again

The Making Of The Lost Pilot: An Oral History
The cast and crew look back at the epic season opener…

Empire's Gone Girl Review
Our official verdict on David Fincher's adaptation of the best-selling novel

The Future Of Film: The Streaming Services Will Be Major Studios
(Or how Hollywood will have to start worrying about Netflix)

The Empire Podcast #129: Liam Neeson Interview
Plus Max Irons, Sam Claflin, Douglas Booth, Holliday Grainger and Jessica Brown Findlay drop by to talk The Riot Club

The Future Of Film: We'll Be Watching Films In Virtual Reality
Immerse cinema aims to become the must-have experience for the filmgoers of the future

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)