Call it Bad Will Hunting?
A decade and a half after Matt Damon teamed up with Gus Van Sant (and Ben Affleck) on his Oscar-winning breakout hit Good Will Hunting, the pair shoot for prestige film status once again with Promised Land. And whereas Damon played a troubled but good-hearted genius in the 1997 film, the actor now firmly plays the charismatic villain in a story about corporate greed and ecological destruction.
Damon takes on the role of a slick businessman who tricks smalltown farmers into signing their land away to an energy company that performs hydraulic fracking — or drilling deep into rock to release natural gas — and often leaves the green burgs browned and dead. Standing in his way are John Krasinski (who also co-wrote the film, giving him an Affleck-esque role in the whole affair) and Rosemaire DeWitt, locals who have seen their own property destroyed by the process.
The whole thing is very bizarro-We Bought a Zoo.
Fracking has become a major issue for celebrity activists; Sean Lennon and his mother, Yoko Ono, recently formed a coalition of stars to fight against the practice’s spread to New York State. Damon, for his part, has become an activist for clean water access, co-founding the charity Water.org.
The film hits theaters on December 28, qualifying it for Oscar season.