Drama written by Matt Damon and John Krasinski and directed by Gus Van Sant
Promised Land might have American director Gus Van Sant’s good-natured direction but it is fatally underpowered. A drama written by actors Matt Damon and John Krasinski, both of whom appear in this story of a global corporation trying to persuade a small Pennsylvania community that what they really need in their lives is a spot of fracking. That’s the popular name for hydraulic fracturing, the controversial process of cracking deep rock layers to allow reserves of gas or oil to rise to the surface. Damon is Steve, an affable salesman looking to buy up land and using his powers of persuasion (which extend to cash bungs) to win over sceptics. Steve’s job becomes tougher when an environmentalist (Krasinski) rolls into town to remind folk that fracking has nasty side-effects, including pollution. Van Sant offers a warm portrait of smalltown life and there are some mildly knotty issues relating to Steve’s past. Mostly, though, Promised Land never feels more than a hot issue in search of a story and the script’s attempts at firing up the intrigue never really catch light.
Gus Van Sant
Matt Damon, Hal Holbrook, Frances McDormand, Terry Kinney, Carla Bianco, Joe Coyle, Titus Welliver