Movie Review: Promised Land

A somewhat heavy-handed, anti-fracking drama that unfolds in the struggling farm country of Pennsylvania, which is sitting on huge reserves of natural gas laden shale.

Matt Damon is the company man assigned to get drilling leases from the “simple folk” who find the temptation of lots of much-needed money hard to resist, even if fracking may pollute the water, kill the livestock, destroy the land and all sorts of other environmentally devastating consequences.  Fortunately, the townspeople just so happen to have local science teacher, Frank Yates (Hal Holbrook), who went to MIT and Cornell for engineering, coincidentally living amongst them.

Damon and his company cohort (an under-used Francis McDormand) also have to face a just-arrived-in-town environmentalist named Dustin Noble (John Krasinski, “The Office”), who comes on like Henry Hill in “The Music Man.”  Typical Hollywood small-town romance is thrown into this Big Bad Company vs. Mother Nature plot that feels a little like Norma Rae at times.  There is one “surprise” at the end that lands a little leaden.  This film is nothing special but it can score you “good citizen of the world” points with a date.  The fracking debate deserves better, no matter what side of the issue you are on.


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