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Promised Land 

Environmentalist film features characters that could use a little more effort

click to enlarge "Life is precious, and God, and the Bible"
  • "Life is precious, and God, and the Bible"

Forever likely to be known as "that fracking movie," Promised Land bubbles up a small-scale character story underneath all that rock solid cautionary environmentalism. Co-writers Matt Damon and The Office's John Krasinski star as a morally shady energy company frontman and mysterious environmental activist, respectively. The two battle over the potentially lucrative natural gas rights buried under a small Pennsylvania farming community, all while Damon falls in love with a townie and begins to question his questionable career path. Director Gus Van Sant provides a capable film, but one gets the impression everyone's efforts were largely phoned in. As maybe, like, a 30-minute short, Promised Land would have been promising. But at feature length, stretched to include political lecturing and economical debates, the result can barely support itself. The movie taps into some raw potential, but rarely sets anything alight.

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Vol 24, No 34
January 19, 2017

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