Monday, December 31, 2012

Promised Land

A rising corporate executive (Matt Damon) and his travelling partner (Frances McDormand) travel from the big city to a rural Pennsylvania township to secure the drilling rights. After bribing the mayor and enticing the local citizenry with temporary relief from the current economic slump, an activist (John Krasinski) comes into the fray with a counter plan: to inform the people of the realities of fracking. "Promised Land" is an excellent environmental film, one that works both as drama and informative, which avoids the usual pitfalls of many of these movies, and is even self-aware. It was directed by Gus Van Sant, a competent veteran and one of the few filmmakers keeping alive the tradition of film, who works from a script by Krasinski and Damon, who draw from a David Eggers story, and both are engaging in their parts. McDormand again proves why she is one of our finest actresses and Rosemarie DeWitt also contributes fine work in a supporting role. The film does have a tendency to be preachy, as would be expected, but this element is mostly held in check, and a concerted effort to find balance on the subject is made. A late act of theatrical chicanery hurts the grounded intentions of the movie, but still works well within the bounds of drama. Whether you seek to be illuminated or entertained, "Promised Land" should suffice, but it also serves as a testament to filmmaking, in a time of big budget, digital extravaganzas.