Posted by: greercn | April 26, 2013

Promised Land

“Promised Land” deserves to be successful. It’s a film with an important environmental message that is never dull or worthy.

There are excellent documentaries about fracking and its methods of extracting oil from the ground. “Gasland” is great, but it lacks the superb entertainment value of “Promised Land”.

For Matt Damon, it’s clearly a labour of love and he puts in a great performance that is pitch perfect. Frances McDormand is terrific as his partner in working for an oil company, buying up the rights to fracking on farms in a small town.

Beautifully filmed with Gus Van Sant’s usual elegiac view of the countryside, the amazing Hal Holbrook puts in a loveable and intelligent performance as the opposition to the company plans for the recession-hit town of desperate farmers.

John Krasinski and Rosemarie DeWitt give superb performances and get all the best lines.

The script pulls you in and is warm, humourous and effective. It’s co-written by Damon and Krasinski.

Linus Sandgren’s cinematography makes the rural Pennsylvania setting a character in its own right. And the music is very effective and creates a super sense of mood and place.

Yes, the tone sometimes shifts to the wrong side of sentimental. But that romantic vision of small-town America is affectionate and I appreciated the great big heartfelt emotions at the centre of this tale.

I genuinely didn’t see the big twists coming. To me, they seemed logical, in retrospect.

“Promised Land” will probably do better on DVD than it will at the cinema. Stratford East Picturehouse wasn’t very full and I am told the film has had small audiences in other venues. It’s a moving and gripping story and you really should see it. Intelligent debate about issues and corporate methods is rare in movies and this is a charming and beautiful tale.



  1. Too much of a message here to really be considered an actual “movie”. Nice review Greer.

    • i did feel that the movie wore its “message” pretty lightly. But I appreciate that I am in a minority, here. I have seen such a lot of very heavy movies about fracking and I was delighted to be entertained. Thanks for the comment!

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