Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Done In 60 Seconds Competition 2015
Guide To Marvel's Infinity War
The Making Of The West Wing
Get 12 Issues For Only £25 Today
The perfect gift this Christmas
London Film Festival 2014
Our round-up of the galas, films and interviews
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
Batman: The Complete TV Series
4 Star Empire Rating
Newsroom: Season 2, The
3 Star Empire Rating
Sopranos: The Complete Series, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Sgt. Bilko: The Complete Collection
5 Star Empire Rating
Fargo
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Sopranos: The Complete Series, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Sgt. Bilko: The Complete Collection
5 Star Empire Rating
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

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.

SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS

SAVE UP TO 48% GET 12 ISSUES FOR ONLY £25
Get the best seat in the house by subscribing to the world's biggest movie magazine today. Save up to 69% and every month you'll get exclusive subscriber-only covers, access to the biggest stars and the best news, reviews and behind-the-scenes reports straight from the set. Click here to find the perfect offer for you


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Empire's Farewell To Middle-Earth Issue:
Guest -Edited By Peter Jackson

The countdown to Empire's stunning new issue begins here...

Josh Hutcherson On The Hunger Games Phenomenon
'I've done my fair share of young adult material now'

What Is A Squidward? A Beginner's Guide To SpongeBob SquarePants
If you aren’t already a massive fan, prepare to become one

Classic Feature: Gods Among Us - Robert De Niro
The heavyweight champion of character immersion, explosive rage and jawdropping subtleties

Empire Meets Thelma Schoonmaker
On editing Scorsese, GoodFellas and a life in film

5 Possible Captain America: Civil War Roles For Daniel Brühl
Failing a Red Skull return, here are some Marvel villains the actor could play...

Kit Harington On How To Train Your Dragon 2
As the sequel hits home entertainment, we talk to the Game Of Thrones star

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save money on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
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)