Hearts and Mines – Review of Mine 9 in Boise Weekly

Hearts and Mines

‘Mine 9’ opens Friday, July 19, at The Flicks



Mine 9, a low-budget but high-octane film, does not advocate for or against America’s controversial legacy of coal mining. Instead, it lionizes the miners who do the heavy lifting in order to keep plants afire. To date, Mine 9 has had a limited theatrical release in America’s so-called coal belt, where the film has been embraced by audiences for its realism. But when Mine 9 opens Friday, July 19, at The Flicks in Boise, more than a few audience members will undoubtedly deconstruct Idaho’s own checkered past (and present) in mining. Lest anyone forget, 91 Idahoans died of carbon monoxide poisoning in the 1972 Sunshine Mine disaster in northern Idaho’s Silver Valley. In fact, the Gem State’s mining tragedies have extended far beyond the Panhandle. Records indicate that more than 600 Idahoans have been killed in explosions, cave-ins or other mining disasters in Ada, Adams, Bear Lake, Blaine, Boise, Bonner, Boundary, Butte, Caribou, Clearwater, Custer, Elmore, Gem, Idaho, Lemhi, Owyhee, Shoshone, Teton, Valley and Washington counties.

All that said, most Americans probably envision Appalachia when they think of mining; and Mine 9‘s backdrop is, quite appropriately, a small West Virginia mining town. Since the early 20th century, when 362 West Virginians were killed in a mine explosion in Monongah, the Mountain State’s portrait has been matte with coal dust. Most recently, 12 West Virginians were killed in the Sago Mine explosion of 2006, and 29 miners died in the Upper Big Branch explosion in 2010.

Mine 9 Director/Screenwriter Eddie Mensore, a native of Martinsville, West Virginia, pitched his screenplay for nearly a dozen years before finally getting permission to film some of his movie inside a real coal mine, thus giving the project intense authenticity. But a word of caution: The claustrophobic, you-are-there nature of Mine 9 is palpable. Suffice to say, theater owners might want to consider selling portable oxygen tanks at concession stands.

Official Trailer of Mine 9 – https://vimeo.com/294807332