Appalling conditions at Australia's Sunbeam Colliery in the '30s led to a miners' strike, and Agnes Doig, a dour Salvation Army schoolmistress, to a lifelong commitment to the labour movement. Although filmed with visual flair and authenticity, this reconstruction never works up steam. Perhaps the fact that Agnes and her miner husband Wattie appear in person, recalling the strike and affirming their continuing pride in being of the working-class, explains the rather deferential handling. In the flashback sequences, Haywood's Wattie has a puckish charm, and Burns works hard to establish Agnes's compassion and grit, but they rarely engage the emotions. The events of the strike likewise unfold with a terse cheeriness that rarely gains a truly threatening accent or a compelling momentum; and, before you know it, the action has petered out.
Cast and crew