Promised Land

"Excellent"

Promised Land Review


Hydraulic fracturing might not be the most compelling subject for a movie, but it provides a topical backdrop for this engaging drama about ethics. It also lets actor-screenwriter Damon reunite with his Good Will Hunting director Van Sant for another strikingly well-made movie centring around a handful of strong characters. And while we know what the filmmakers feel about this contentious issue, at least the script isn't heavy handed about it.

The story takes place in a rural New England town, where oil company workers Steve and Sue (Damon and McDormand) are trying to secure the leases needed to drill for natural gas. The farmers badly need the cash to keep in business, but a retired science teacher (Holbrook) voices concern about the potential dangers of "fracking". He's joined by environmental activist Dustin (Krasinski) to turn the town against Steve and Sue's multinational corporation. And Dustin even starts to meddle in a budding romance between Steve and local teacher Alice (DeWitt). 

The script is cleverly constructed to make us wonder who is telling the full truth. There are obviously risks associated with fracking, but have they been exaggerated by politically motivated campaigns? Damon plays Steve as a straight-arrow, a nice guy who genuinely believes that the process is safe. Meanwhile, Krasinski is a but more slippery as the grassroots voice of caution, and the terrific McDormand gets all the best lines.

Van Sant holds everything together expertly, shooting in an unhurried, confident style that captures both the raw beauty of the pastoral landscape and the earthy honesty of the townsfolk. So their economic turmoil and the hope the oil company offers create a genuine dilemma. Thankfully the film never descends into a full-on rant. Instead, the script takes a complex approach to both the big issue and the characters themselves. It may be a bit low key and slightly obvious, but it's a rare Hollywood movie that's simply designed to make us think.

Rich Cline



Promised Land

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 106 mins

In Theaters: Friday 4th January 2013

Box Office USA: $7.5M

Box Office Worldwide: $8.1M

Budget: $15M

Distributed by: Focus Features

Production compaines: Media Farm, Focus Features, Participant Media, Imagenation Abu Dhabi FZ, Sunday Night, Pearl Street Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 51%
Fresh: 74 Rotten: 70

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Steve Butler, as Dustin Noble, as Sue Thomason, as Alice, as Paul Geary, as Frank Yates, as Rob, as Drew, as Jeff Dennon, as David Stonehill, Johnny Cicco as Donny, Sara Lindsey as Claire Allen, Lennon Wynn as Lemonade Girl, Rosemary Howard as Spanish Teacher, John W. Iwanonkiw as Officer Breedlove

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

Advertisement
The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.