NewsBlaze search box Daily News header

Promised Land Film Review

By     get stories by email

Gas Company Downplays Downside of Fracking in Timely Eco-Drama

In 2011, a disturbing documentary called Gasland was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Documentary category. That eye-opening expose' chronicled how energy companies had duped landowners in Pennsylvania and Colorado into signing over the drilling rights on their property while downplaying the ecological risks.

For hydraulic fracturing, AKA fracking, the process employed to mine natural gas, has contaminated many a community's environment, thereby rendering homes virtually uninhabitable. In that movie, victims demonstrated with a match how their tap water had become flammable, and how their pets had inexplicably turned sickly and started shedding fur in patches.

promise
Theatrical release poster. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Ostensibly inspired by Gasland, the Biblically-titled Promised Land is a cautionary tale tackling the same theme. This modern morality play reunites director Gus Van Sant with Matt Damon for their fourth collaboration which began back in 1997 with Good Will Hunting. The pair also worked together on Finding Forrester in 2000 and on Gerry a couple of years later.

Here, Damon stars as Steve Butler, a farm boy-turned-itinerant corporate pitchman employed by a gas conglomerate to fast-talk country folks into turning over their drilling rights. He and his partner's (Frances McDormand) latest assignment takes them to McKinley, a cash-strapped, if otherwise idyllic, rural community that stands to be polluted if tricked into signing on the dotted line.

Steve has a down-home way of insinuating himself with the locals which even turns the head of a pretty schoolmarm (Rosemarie DeWitt). Fortunately, a couple of gadflies in the ointment emerge in a skeptical science teacher (Hal Holbrook) and an outside agitator (John Krasinski) who urge everybody not to be blinded by dollar signs, but to do a little research into the potential fallout from fracking.

A transparent message movie which might deserve to be forgiven for moralizing and politicizing, given the urgency of the underlying environmental issue.

Very Good (3 Stars)

Rated R for profanity.

Running time: 106 minutes

Distributor: Focus Features

To see a trailer for Promised Land:

Kam Williams is a syndicated film and book critic who writes for 100+ publications. He is a member of the New York Film Critics Online, the African-American Film Critics Association, and the NAACP Image Awards Nominating Committee. Contact him through NewsBlaze. Read more reviews by Kam Williams.

  Please click this get stories by email button to be notified about future stories, and please leave a comment below.

  Please leave a comment here     If it does not display within 10 seconds, please refresh the page

Related Movie Reviews News

Prairie Miller has a conversation with the star of a new Off-Broadway play, Sandra Lee, herself a victim of rape in the military as a soldier in Iraq.
Three Chinese boys undergo 90 days of rehab to cure their addiction for computer games and the Internet rather that prevents them connecting with others.
Ryan Reynolds sees futuristic identity theft in sci-fi thriller Self/Less. He freaks out when involuntarily biologically engineered to share the same body with Ben Kingsley
Channing Tatum returns in the title role, but legendary director, Steven Soderbergh and several actors critical to the success of the original are missing.
Stephen Boss parlayed television success into a film career, appearing in Hairspray, Blades of Glory, Stomp the Yard 2 and, most notably, several installments of the Step Up franchise.
Top Ten DVD List for June 30, 2015, including Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter, While We're Young, and The Decline of Western Civilization.

 

NewsBlaze Writers Of The Month


Popular Stories This Month

newsletter logo

NewsBlaze
Copyright © 2004-2014 NewsBlaze Pty. Ltd.
Use of this website is subject to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy  | DMCA Notice               Press Room   |    Visit NewsBlaze Mobile Site