I do not enjoy movies about environmentalism or animal rights. Hell, I can’t even watch the animal abuse commercials. Instead of making me feel good, these movies are sad and sappy with a magic ending. So unlike real life. I had no desire to see Promised Land when I read the synopsis but the trailer made me think differently. Promised Land might be a different kind of movie.
Steve Butler and Sue Thomason are natural gas sales people sent to a small rural town in economic decline. Their goal is to acquire the drilling rights of the land in order to set up a hydraulic fracturing (fracking) station for natural gas. The two encounter trouble with a local, retired teacher, as well as a cute and funny environmentalist who want to keep the area fracking free. Both Steve and Sue s learn about life and love seeing the world through new eyes.
This David and Goliath story pits a rural against the large company with their false promises of cash. The town is struggling and their eyes turn big when they are promised exaggerated amounts of money to save their children. Steve watches their struggles and lives alongside them in an effort to bring them to his side. But he starts to see the company in the same light. The lies won’t help this town and save these people. The man is being turned from the inside. This gives the movie a sense of hope knowing that home and standards are not just a thing of the past.
The film could have been a puff piece about being green; instead it was a smart and emotional looking into becoming an adult. Blending humor with real world issues, Matt Damon and John Krasinski proved to be deft screen writers as well as actors. If anyone else had tried to do this movie, it would have become a sappy mess. In fact, it’s my favorite of Damon’s work. Krasinski is fabulous juggling drama and humor making sure the laughs, never losing the tone of the film. He works well with Damon. Of course, it is Hal Holbrook who steals the screen. The husband of the late Dixie Carter adds true down home feel to the Pennsylvania town.
I actually enjoyed learning more about natural gas. How knew it could be so dangerous to get? Who knew franking was a real word? I shocked at the lies spewing out of the Steve and Sue’s mouth like a car salesman. I really shouldn’t have been surprised. Natural gas is capitalism at the top of its game. It can be harmful and greedy.
If you are in the mood for a smart, funny film look no further. Krasinski and Damon surprise you with deep look into rural life and the natural gas business. This becoming an adult film shows what truly matters in life.
- Review | Gus Van Sant’s Promised Land (theblend.ie)
- Fracking film ‘Promised Land’ spoiled by clumsy conclusion (breakingnews.ie)
- Film review: Promised Land – Matt Damon’s fracking movie is full of natural gas (independent.co.uk)
- VIDEO: Matt Damon fights for ‘rural America’ (bbc.co.uk)
- Cinema & Film: Movie Review: Promised Land (coventrytelegraph.net)