Although I won’t be rushing out to the theater on Jan. 4 to see “Promised Land,” I will see it on video, sometime … probably.
There has been so much buzz about the movie, and I must admit I am curious. I do however wonder if it will lack a solid factual background, instead playing more to the heart … the emotions. Hollywood is Hollywood. It is driven by drama, and stays afloat by tugging at our heart strings and playing with the many emotions that human beings possess. I wonder what will drive the movie—love, hate, anger, greed.
You’ll have to wait for my review of the movie when I rent the video. For now, here are some reviews from various media outlets:
New York Times Opinion Pages (Andrew Revkin)
The filmmakers, led by director Gus Van Sant, could have drawn on the real and often wrenching drama in such regions — the struggle between landowners and politicians eager for a way out of longstanding economic decline and those fearing contamination, industrial hazards or a loss of rural character. In my travels last spring and summer in Pennsylvania and New York communities situated over the gas-rich Marcellus shale, I saw plenty of this. Tom Wilber’s fine book on the gas rush in the Northeast, “Under the Surface,” probably came out too recently to provide source material for the filmmakers, but depicts the regional tensions in vivid detail. (I recommend that you read Wilber’s thoughtful, informed assessment of the film.)
The Boston Globe (Ty Burr)
The screenplay wants to stoke the growing backlash against hydraulic fracturing — which involves pumping fluid laced with chemical additives deep into rock layers — and fuel the debate about energy consumption and environmental damage. Honestly, though, Van Sant doesn’t seem all that interested. For him, “Promised Land” seems like an excuse to remind moviegoers that small towns are populated by individuals of varying hearts and minds rather than the clichés of TV ads.
Chicago Tribune (Michael Phillips)
The script is unconvincing; two key narrative twists, one related to the other, are deeply hokey. Van Sant, a smooth craftsman, never gives us a town on the ropes. You keep hearing how tough things are — and in towns like this one, they are — yet “Promised Land,” from a story idea by Dave Eggers, is too concerned with shimmering rural vistas as photographed by cinematographer Linus Sandgren to give us much grit. A movie on this subject needs more than postcards from well-meaning writers and filmmakers just traveling through.
Minneapolis StarTribune Kristin Tillotson
On the surface, “Promised Land” has a lot in common with the superb ’80s indie hit “Local Hero,” in which a Texas oil executive with Scottish roots is sent to buy up a seaside town in Scotland for its rich reserves. Instead, he becomes enchanted with the town’s way of life. But that film resisted patronizing its audience and wouldn’t have been caught dead including a line like, “What do I do in a world where no one cares?”
New York Daily News (Joe Neumaier)
There’s a lot to admire about “Promised Land,” starting with the fact that this issues-based movie is as casual as a game of darts in a small-town bar on Saturday night. You’d never guess that what was on its mind was awakening consciences about a very divisive domestic issue. That would be fracking, the process by which natural gas is exported from deep in the earth, often in rural areas, and channeled through pipes that, opponents say, poison the land and water. But aside from having a villainous-sounding name, fracking isn’t the nuclear energy of “The China Syndrome,” the anti-union forces of “Norma Rae” or the corporate poisoners of “Silkwood.” As a target, it’s a messier spill. Which is obviously one reason Matt Damon and John Krasinski — working from a story by Dave Eggers — wrote a screenplay that wisely plays more like a Frank Capra film than a ’70s-style message movie. There’s a lightness of touch here that makes its levelheaded advocacy go down smooth as lager, and allows some quiet room for thought.
NorwichBulletin.com (Al Alexander)
With “Good Will Hunting,” Matt Damon adhered to the writers’ credo of sticking with what you know. But with his latest script, the anti-fracking tale “Promised Land,” he ventures far beyond his New England comfort zone. He also for the first time is opting not to collaborate with someone not named Affleck, teaming instead with Newton native John Krasinski. And while it’s admirable that Damon is so keen on expanding his horizons, the result is a frackin’ mess. No doubt he and his “Office” boy, Krasinski, have good intentions, looking to use their clout to get the message out about a geological practice that poisons soil, water and people’s minds. But like fracking, the injection of undisclosed chemicals into shale to force natural gas to the surface, the way they go about it is a bit dubious. It’s also frequently condescending toward the money-strapped Midwestern agrarians they’re attempting to champion.
To read more: Movie Review: ‘Promised Land’ is a frackin’ mess – Norwich, CT – The Bulletin http://www.norwichbulletin.com/archive/x1922383351/Movie-Review-Promised-Land-is-a-frackin-mess#ixzz2GMQiWckE