Promised Land (2012)
Promised Land is the new contemporary drama directed by Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting, Milk). 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.
Matt Damon turns in a fine performance as a sincere representative of a company named Global, which is interested in purchasing many acres of land from farmers for the natural gas on the properties. They don’t tell them that the drilling can cause environmental problems. When an environmentalist shows up and gets the community on his side, Steve Butler (Damon) fights back. But soon Butler has to decide which side he is really on as it becomes apparent to him that the environmental concerns are real. Also turning in a strong performance is Hal Holbrook as the respected science schoolteacher who cares for the land and its future, and wants to make sure it is properly looked after.
Unfortunately, this movie doesn’t make the grade as a family friendly film as it contains a load of strong language including the F bomb and biblical profanity. This is the only category that crosses our acceptability line in content and we sure wish they would have gone easy on the language and this one we could have heartily recommended for the family. As it is, we can’t award our Dove Seal to this picture.