The coal-mining company is blasting the tops of mountains, poisoning rural people, and downsizing as its profits grow. This is capitalism without a human face. Capitalism uncaged. Capitalism in a state of nature. Capitalism with blood on its teeth and claws. It's destroying the environment, driving poor people into deeper poverty, and buying politicians at all levels of power—from mayors to the president. In one scene of this depressing but very slick documentary, the corporation has made a toxic lake above an elementary school. At any moment, it could spill and kill the children. Everyone knows this; no one can do anything about it. The politicians and the cops have been bought. The children go to school in fear.
The blasting of mountaintops, a very cheap but very destructive way of mining, is sickening people. The water has been spoiled, people are dying from brain tumors, boulders from explosions continually threaten lives and homes, and the list goes on and on. In another scene, Don Blankenship, the CEO of the mining monster, Massey Energy, throws a party for the miners—barbecue, music, speeches. When Blankenship takes the stage, he tells the miners and their families: "I hope you are enjoying the party. It's costing me a million dollars." No one laughs. Or maybe no one laughs with mirth. This is not really a joke. The bastard really means it. These miners are not eating hot dogs and drinking beer on the company's tab; it's coming out of his own pocket, because his pocket is the company. This man has no soul.
Joseph Stalin, you will remember, once ordered his scientists to create Planet of the Apes–style warriors. The reason for this? He wanted a "new invincible human being, insensitive to pain, resistant and indifferent about the quality of food they eat." Blankenship does not even want ape/men workers, workers who are insensitive to exploitation and indifferent about the quality of life. He just wants machines. The documentary informs us that if he can replace a human with a machine, he wastes no time in doing so. He has destroyed the unions in the way he is destroying the mountains. This impressive documentary will break your heart.