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.

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

Where to Invade Next hops from one topic to another, never lets the audience know what it's about and, after two hours of cinematic navel gazing, it's unlikely they care.
Prairie Miller has a Halloween Visitation. Cult Horror Director Sam Raimi drops in, Death Of A Salesman In Yiddish and classical concert pianist Hannah Reimann
Bond is back, possibly Daniel Craig's last outing. Can SPECTRE step out of the shadow cast by SKYFALL's great acclaim. Read Kingsley's review to find out!
This race hate documentary chronicles neo-Nazi relocation to Leith, a small town in North Dakota, and what the locals did to get rid of the supremacists.
Prairie Miller has a conversation with Ben Vereen, about Time Out of Mind, his movie with Richard Gere, a film about the homeless struggling to survive.
A power-hungry ruthless assassin mobster wants to muscle-in on illegal Mafia rackets in the Italian North End. An intimidating, monster with no conscience.


NewsBlaze Writers Of The Month

Popular Stories This Month

newsletter logo

Copyright © 2004-2015 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