Promised Land (2012) is a drama that centers on a couple of land men (people who purchase mineral rights for future drilling) – Matt Damon and Frances McDormand – who run into opposition in a small farming community from a local scientist – Hal Holbrook – and an idealistic green-group guy – John Krasinski – based on the environmental dangers of fracking.
According to Rotten Tomatoes, Promised Land is a mediocre movie – 52% of the critics like it; 46% of its audience liked it. I liked it better – three stars out of four – because the characters are so likeable
The NY Times concluded that Promised Land worked “by putting character ahead of story” and by “inviting the actors to be warm, funny and prickly.” Exactly right! Damon is excellent as a former farm kid who has achieved success because of his ability to manipulate locals into leasing their land. Holbrook and Damon’s sidekick McDormand also combine down-home charm with big-city smarts. But what really makes the movie for me is Rosemarie DeWitt, who becomes the love interest of both Damon and Krasinski. Although the movie is a bit anti-fracking, that really isn’t essential to the movie.
Incidentally, Damon and Krasinski co-wrote the screenplay for Promised Land based on a story by Dave Eggers, the author of a high-tech novel I am currently reading – The Circle – and an earlier memoir, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.