Reviews of Movies, TV shows & metro Detroit Restaurants

Short movie & TV show reviews and metro Detroit restaurant reviews

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Movie Review: "Promised Land" (2012)

"Promised Land" is a movie about a very popular & controversial practice called hydraulic fracturing, a.k.a "fracking" (the use of high pressure water mixed with sand & chemicals in order to extract oil or natural gas). The movie is decent and tells the story of a small town whose people are being asked to sell drilling rights to their land to a large energy company. "Promised Land" was written by its stars (Matt Damon & John Krasinski) and was directed by Gus Van Sant. Given this powerful trio, you'd think this movie would have been very good. Instead, it's just OK.

Steve Butler (Damon) & his partner Sue (played by Frances McDormand) work for a large energy company and their job is to get the residents of a rural Pennsylvania farming town to sell the drilling rights to their land in order for the energy company to start fracking for natural gas. The town is struggling financially and many people can use the economic boost that selling the rights will provide. Butler himself comes from a small town that essentially died due to a Caterpillar plant shutting down and he uses this to persuade the residents of this small town to sell their mineral rights. Butler starts to inject himself into the town and try to become friends with its residents, most notably with a local teacher named Alice (played by Rosemarie DeWitt). Dustin Noble (Krasinski) who works for an unknown environmental firm, starts a campaign against the energy company, motivated by a tale of his family losing its dairy farm after all of the cows died as a result of fracking. A battle (not with swords or guns or anything of that sort) between Butler and Noble then ensues...with a somewhat surprising end.

This is a good movie, far from great. The story is fairly well told and the performances by the main players are all quite good. It's just not that compelling and left me wanting more. I don't think it really lived up to its potential, especially given the strong team involved. I am going to steal a quote from a review I saw on Rotten Tomatoes that sums this movie up perfectly: "The film means well, it just doesn't stir the soul." (Damon Smith, Birmingham Post).

Did I dislike this movie? No. Did I love it? No. Thus...6.5/10 stars

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