Promised Land

Rated: R

       Upon seeing the previews for Promised Land I knew it was one to add to my list of “must sees”. Not only were the stars of the movie some of my favorites, (Matt Damon, John Krazinski and Frances McDormand), but the issue presented in it is close to my heart. This movie tries to tackle an issue that is making more and more headlines these days, hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) for natural gas. And while this movie and the story it tells are works of fiction, this issue is certainly not.
Promised Land follows Steve Butler and Sue Thompson, two natural gas workers, as they make their way from house to house in a rural Pennsylvania town, trying to get the residents to lease their land to the gas company for later drilling. All goes pretty much according to plan until local high school teacher Frank Yates and environmentalist Dustin Noble begin to alert residents to the environmental dangers of fracking. That’s where the twists and turns (not to mention the trouble) begin.
         Written by Damon and Krazinski,
Promised Land may not be a 100% accurate representation of what happens when “the gas man” comes to town, but it sheds light on an issue that more people should be aware of. It’s not usually true that a town gets together to vote on whether or not to let the gas companies in, but it is true that (especially in Pennsylvania these days) gas companies are offering poor farmers who are barely scraping by gobs of money for the rights to drill on their land. And while many of these people may indeed care about the very real environmental concerns, a lot of them can’t afford NOT to sign the leases these companies are offering. If you see this movie and would like more information about this issue I recommend seeing Gasland and Gasland 2. They’re documentaries that extensively cover this issue.
        As for my feelings about this movie, I guess I’d put it down in the “Meh” category. It’s entertaining enough, and like I said it raises a few important issues, it’s just not something I’ll end up seeing more than once.

Promised Land is rated R, was directed by Gus Van Sant and stars Matt Damon, Frances McDormand, John Krazinski and Hal Holbrook. Its available now on Blu Ray, DVD and digital download.