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Have you ever had that feeling when you go to a movie that it might be a slightly environmental flick and leave feeling like you’ve been lectured?
That’s kind of what you get with “Promised Land.” I think they really tried not to be overtly environmental and keep it in the subtext, sort of. But they didn't try hard enough. The environmental theme became the driving force of the film.
In the movie, Matt Damon (“We Bought a Zoo”) plays a representative from a large natural gas company trying to lease land and offer big payoffs to people in a small farming community to drill for natural gas. In his way are a retired engineer and local science teacher played by Hal Holbrook (“Lincoln”) and an upstart environmentalist, John Krasinski (TV’s “The Office”).
But everything isn’t what it seems and the residents of the town are caught in the middle of it all.
Damon’s character is supported by the always great Frances McDormand (“Moonrise Kingdom”) and his love interest is Rosemarie DeWitt (“The Odd Life of Timothy Green”).
Most of the acting and filmmaking are good. It is directed by Gus Van Sant who has worked with Damon before in “Good Will Hunting,” and the screenplay was written by Damon and Krasinski.
But Damon seemed to just walk though this one. His normal strong performance is missing and his character is left a little blank.
The movie’s score is a refreshing change for musician Danny Elfman. It’s nice to hear him score a film that isn’t weird and directed by Tim Burton.
The plot is a little shaky. It feels like when the writers reached the end of the script, they did not have a great finish so they threw in a plot twist as an ending. There could have been better ways to tie up the loose ends for a stronger all-around film.
Still, it all boils down to what you want to see when you go to the movies. If you want to be lectured about the dangers of drilling for natural gas and how big business manipulates things to get its way, then this film is for you.
If you are like me and are more interested in going to the movies to be moved or entertained, it’s not going to be your ideal movie experience.
This one just didn’t work for me.