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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Promised Land by by Gus Van Sant, 2013 (R)

with Matt Damon (Invictus, Margaret, True Grit, We Brought a Zoo, The Informant!, Herafter, Inside Job, The Adjustment Bureau), Frances McDormand, John Krasinski (It's Complicated), Rosemarie DeWitt (Margaret, Rachel Getting Married, Your Sister's Sister), Scoot McNairy (Argo), Titus Welliver (Argo), Terry Kinney, Hal Holbrook (Lincoln)

Promised Land is the new contemporary drama directed by Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting, Milk, Elephant). Matt Damon plays Steve Butler, an ace corporate salesman who is sent along with his partner, Sue Thomason (Frances McDormand), to close a key rural town in his company's expansion plans. With the town having been hit hard by the economic decline of recent years, the two outsiders see the local citizens as likely to accept their company's offer, for drilling rights to their properties, as much-needed relief. What seems like an easy job for the duo becomes complicated by the objection of a respected schoolteacher (Hal Holbrook) with support from a grassroots campaign led by another man (John Krasinski), as well as the interest of a local woman (Rosemarie DeWitt). Promised Land explores America at the crossroads where big business and the strength of small-town community converge.

Interesting points to an interesting movie. While the world becomes barely aware of the effects of Fracking, and I am not talking about Battlestar Galactica now, this movie questions the environmental solutions proposed by a government that has to face the high level of pollution it allows in its territory, the power of the gas company over a declining agricultural industry. It is Giant a century later, it is a fascinating journey through the eyes of a few people from about perhaps five different view-points. What is interesting is the idea that people can change, and so people just don't, because their bigger picture is the one of survival, to the next day, while it might not be as relevant as the next generation's survival. The reason I really liked the movie is that it was personal, it felt, through the amazing performance of the actors, that you were right there with them, taking the time to understand them, the different perspectives, allowing you to get involve and make up your own mind in the end, as if you were part of the town and left to decide what best. Definitely, it didn't give a good face to the gas company, and reminded me of the last movie I saw with Matt Damon, Inside Job...

watch trailer:


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