Matt Damon and a solid, well-chosen cast populate the new message movie about the environment and financial gain called “Promised Land.” Although a little preachy, the movie has a very comfortable veneer to it with characters who are authentic.
Matt Damon is a natural playing a salesman for a multibillion dollar natural gas company who is sent to a small farming community to buy up the mineral rights to all the farms. The company wants to start the process called “fracking,” which breaks up rock formations underground and allows them to release the natural gas below. It’s a risky procedure at best with some bad environmental possibilities.
It could make those who sell millionaires, and many of the farms are failing anyway. Damon’s character has an erstwhile assistant in his efforts played by Oscar-winning actress Frances McDormand. He is there to find out who owns the properties, and get their consent on a sales contract for their land as fast as possible.
Things are going well until an activist, played to perfection by John Krasinski, enter the fray and soon Damon is finding his prospects being decided by a vote of the small community. Damon and Krasinski actually wrote this screenplay, which is based on a story by Dave Eggers. Hal Holbrook plays a sage local resident who like’s Damon’s character, but not what he is doing.
“Promised Land” was supposedly financed by Saudi oil interests who would obviously have a point to make in a motion picture like this. I think most people will enjoy this film and it’s point of view, not to mention the appealing characters, but don’t bet the farm on it.