Sunday, November 3, 2013

Netflix Mail Day Movie Review: "Promised Land" (2012)

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Movie"Promised Land"
Director: Gus Van Sant
Year: 2012
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 46 minutes

Steve Butler (Matt Damon) and his partner Sue Thomason (Frances McDormand) work for a large natural gas company as salespeople. They don't sell a product: they are selling an idea to landowners in order to lease mineral/drilling rights. Steve is especially good at his job because he grew up in a small town on a large family farm that struggled to be profitable. Because of this, he can relate to much of middle America's problems and understand where they come from in order to sell this idea. In general, he's a good guy, but seems completely oblivious to any environmental elements that may be affected by his company's expansion. When Dustin Noble (John Krasinski) shows up in the same town where Steve is working, preaching the doom of natural gas fracking, Steve is forced to reevaluate his company's practices and to find out where the truth lies.

First off, this movie definitely has an agenda. It's clearly anti-fracking, but does little to explain it other than one scene where Krasinski's character is trying to teach elementary school kids about it with dirt and fire. This is the biggest beef we had with the movie: it seems to take a strong stand against fracking, but does so in a dumbed-down manner and doesn't go into the detail we would have liked to see. Krasinski's character comes off brash and self-righteous at first, and seems overly pushy about his position. Matt Damon's character is very sympathetic and very likable throughout the movie. Frances McDormand's character is also likable, even though she has no moral objections to what she's doing and is very much a company woman. The movie is obviously set up in a manner where the overall outcome of the film is very predictable until it's not. It's well acted, but then again, you're dealing with Damon and McDormand here. Decent, but not great.

My Rating: 6/10
BigJ's Rating: 5.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 51%
Do we recommend this movie:  I say sure, why not, BigJ says meh.

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