Gus Van Sant, director of films like Good Will Hunting and Milk, greets the new year with a new contemporary drama starring Matt Damon, Frances McDormand and John Kransinski with Promised Land. The movie also stars Hal Holbrook, Rosemarie DeWitt and Titus Welliver. Promised Land is about Steve Butler (Damon) an ace corporate salesman who is working with Sue Thomason (McDormand) on a trip to close a key rural town for their company’s expansion plans. The only problem is the town that they are going to has been hit hard due to economic depression over the past years and the expansion plan is unlikely to be accepted. Check out an early review for this new film “Promised Land.”
“Promised Land: A Beautiful Movie Backed With Great Performances
“I’m not a bad guy.” Matt Damon‘s character Steve Butler says this enough times in Gus Van Sant’s new film ‘Promised Land‘ that he probably believes it. He also says it enough for us in the audience to know that, whether knowingly or not, he’s clearly the bad guy.
He is a representative of a natural gas company, one about to get a big promotion, because he seems to have the knack for getting cash-strapped rural landowners to sign over drilling rights. He claims it is because he’s from a small town himself and understands what economic hardships can do to a person. We’ll soon learn that it also due to his remarkable ability to see only what he wants to see.
All but a prologue in ‘Promised Land’ is shot in a small Pennsylvania farming community. Damon and his cohort Frances McDormand ride into town in a not-fancy car, buy some local-looking clothes and being their door-to-door pitch. What they offer is a signing bonus and talk of potential riches and a brighter future for the children. If the deal sounds too good to be true, it’s because it quite possibly is. At a town hall meeting Hal Holbrook and his ten tons of nobility stand up and use the F word: Fracking.
Holbrook, the local science teacher (but also retired from years working at Boeing – “he’s teaching for fun!” the opposition research incredulously shouts) warns that environmental woes may come with Damon’s money. In time a leaflet-carrying activist in the form of John Krasinski shows up and the fight is on for the hearts and minds of the community.
Among the more interesting angles of ‘Promised Land’ is how our sympathies are torn in different directions. It is only natural to root for our main character. It’s Matt Damon, after all, and, remember, he says “I’m not a bad guy” a lot. Nevertheless, this is a movie, and when a movie has a big corporation (with a generic name like “Global” no less) surely they are the ones up to no good.
The entire second half of the film goes into “this is a movie” overdrive, with all the shoe-horned love interests and preposterous plot twists you can imagine. (Oh, if only anyone bothered to use Google, so many problems could have been avoided.) This is a formula film in the worst case of the word, where big honkin’ icons like barns draped in flags are meant to cover up the fact that no one offers any real solutions for the fundamental problems facing the town once our heroes walk through the screen door off the sun-dappled porch.”
The rest of the review can be read at Screen Crush
Promised Land is going to be released in cinemas on December 28th 2012.
Check out “The Impossible Movie Trailer” right in this blog