Promised Land (2012)

Promised Land (2012)It’s been over a week since I’ve sat down and felt like talking about a film. Additionally I have been waiting a while to catch Promised Land (2012) after catching the trailer over a year ago, hoping it would be shown at the local cinema. That chance didn’t arrive. The premise of the film, going from the trailer was interesting, a small farming town is targeted by a big gas corporation in the hopes of buying up the land to begin the controversial tracking which has come to prominence in recent years. Of course the process has been going in for longer that we all knew about it. There are plans to start drilling for natural gas in the UK too. Naturally wherever there is fracking proposed there is opposition, the side effects of the process which can have side-effects. No-one but the scientists really know what the long-term effects are of this new process. A process that could potentially ensure our energy future, the of our reliance on fossil fuels which has caused global-warming. There is a lot to discuss.

That’s before we get to the human cost of such a move into a community. This is where Promised Land comes in when two salesmen are given the job to sell the idea of selling the drilling rights to a gas company before another one gets in there. Should be straight forward for sales professional Steve Butler (Matt Damon) and his colleague Sue Thomason (Frances McDormand). It should be just another job. Selling the idea of a better future to this farming community hit by the financial crisis. On paper it sounds like a good idea. 

That’s until opposition turns up in the form of old grouch Frank Yates (Hal Holbrook) except he’s not a grouch, loaded with knowledge about the tracking process which scares people at the town meeting which would otherwise would have gone well. Throw into the mix the good old environmentalist Dustin Noble (John Krasinski) who comes armed with evidence of nothing but death for another farm. I mean how can you argue with that? Dead cows in a field to farmers who know only livestock and crops, to see that would be enough for any farmer to turn away a salesmen whose only interested in the money. 

This all goes back and forth for a while with a pointless love interest Alice (Rosemarie DeWitt) that feels tacked on to give Butler more of a human side, away from the desire to make this communities lives better. Coming from a farming background himself, I can’t understand why he’s even in the job after seeing the same thing happen to him. It just doesn’t add up to me. Whilst his partner Sue sees this all as another job that has to be done.

And then comes the twist at the end, concerning the environmentalist, it’s all one big campaign really to persuade the town how to vote. I lost my faith in the film here. Why couldn’t we let the community decide for themselves. What we got was corporate manipulation on a mass scale, just what do we believe. It’s all too contrived for me, causing complete loss of faith in the film, I just stopped caring about the salesmen, and even the people really as it just didn’t matter what happened.

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4 responses

  1. Your review of the film could have been mine. I agree — contrived. Nice review, Tim

    December 4, 2014 at 2:09 am

    • Glad I’m not the only one, It had potential but just failed, miserably.

      December 4, 2014 at 7:50 pm

  2. The message is so obvious and overbearing that it’s sometimes too hard to get past it and just remember that it’s a movie. Although the cast is quite good. Nice review Tim.

    December 5, 2014 at 6:16 am

    • I think it was secretively made and funded by environmentalists,

      December 5, 2014 at 4:29 pm

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