promised land, 2012 (dir. gus van sant, starring matt damon, john krasinski)
promised land is a film that confronts the real struggle between money and morals. steve butler (matt damon) and sue thomason (frances mcdormand) descend upon a small rural town representing global, a natural gas corporation. the town has been hit hard by the economic downturn and the promise of sums of money for sale of their land to be used for fracking is hard to resist. what should be an easy transaction turns out to be harder than they expect. a well read and educated local science teacher (hal holbrook) speaks up at the town meeting and implores his fellow citizens to research the effects of hydraulic fracturing and to put it to a vote. this throws butler a curve ball and he hustles to win the trust of the townsfolk. butler is genuine and his angle is to play up his own farm raised roots. he is legitimately unaware of any negative ramifications of his company’s drilling process and believes that he is a savior to the town. to make things even more difficult on them, an environmentalist played by john krasinski arrives to enlighten the locals on the immoral practices of global.
when presented with a way to solve your immediate monetary problems it’s hard to weigh the environmental and moral impact. with the encouragment of the science teacher portrayed by the brilliant hal holbrook and the charisma of john krasinski’s character the people of mckinely smartly evaluate their options. damon is real and sound in this role and mcdormand adds some comic relief. the cinematography is beautiful: lots of sweeping landscapes and idyllic small town usa imagery. a surprising straightforward narrative from director gus van sant. the soundtrack, put together by the very competent danny elfman lends itself to the flow of a neatly put together film. the themes were interesting and the film fairly addressed them. although, it wasn’t terribly moving or heartfelt which i was expecting.