Gus Van Sant and Matt Damon's fracking drama is detailed and warm but ultimately unsurprising.
A social-issue drama handled in a very human way, Promised Land presents its environmental concerns in a clear, upfront manner but hits some narrative and character bumps in the second half that weaken the impact of this fundamentally gentle, sympathetic work. Collaborating on a screenplay for director Gus Van Sant for the third time, after Good Will Hunting and Gerry, Matt Damon stars as a natural-gas company rep who encounters more resistance than he bargained for when trying to buy up drilling rights on struggling farmers' land. This is something of a Frank Capra story preoccupied with the idea of what the U.S. used to be or is supposed to be, but the film isn't quite rich or full-bodied enough to entirely pay off.
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