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

Chef, author, world traveler Anthony Bourdain is an outspoken trailblazer with unique insights talks about his life, career and Peabody and Emmy-winning TV-series, Parts Unknown.
Kam Williams interviews Gina the Dreamer about Beyond the Lights, a romance drama co-starring Gugu Mbata-Raw and Nate Parker.
Marion Cotillard, who is no stranger to tackling complex characters and complicated women in movies, most notably as Edith Piaf in La Vie En Rose, plays Sandra in Two Days, One Night. An emotionally vulnerable blue collar worker in a plant determine
Stevie Nicks, older and ever bolder turned heads with Stevie's back-to-the-future, pre-technoid selfies at an opening exhibition in the Morrison Hotel Gallery, Manhattan.
Michael Pena, who first appeared in 'To Sir, with Love' and 'End of Watch' director David Ayer talk to Kam Williams about reuniting to collaborate on Fury.
Rosamund Pike stopped by the NY Film Festival where Gone Girl premiered, to weigh in on assorted relevant topics, with Prairie Miller.

 

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