Sunday, January 6, 2013

Promised Land

In Promised Land, Director Gus Van Sant and Writers/Actors Matt Damon and John Krasinski harken back to the social consciousness films of the ‘30s and ‘40s as they take on the controversial gas-drilling practice known as “fracking.”

This is an excellently told tale of economic need that creates the struggle between greed and integrity. 

The film moves smoothly and, often, delightfully with superb performances by Matt Damon, John Krasinski, Hal Holbrook, Frances McDormand and Rosemarie DeWitt surrounded by pristine America as the town depicted decides on whether to let fracking take place.

The issue is important and, having sat in on both industry and environmental activist talks, as well as having studied the practice, I can attest to the fact the filmmakers are more than fair in depicting what is taking place in the real world.

Without giving away the plot, the most telling comment is made by a key character, when she says, “It’s just a job.”  It’s the takeaway I had after hearing well-coifed, well-dressed industry types parsing the truth, when fielding questions from concerned citizens.  They were no different from the “good soldiers” at Auschwitz, who turned the gas nozzles because it was “just a job.”

Hopefully, there are enough politicians with sufficient integrity to turn down the payoffs and push for proper regulation of this important, but, currently, environmentally dangerous industry, as well as more enlightened media reporters, who will bring the issue of creating proper rules to the forefront.

As a film entertainment, alone, I give Promised Land a 4 out of 5, but for focusing light on an important American issue, its story deserves a 5.


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