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Promised Land 2012

LOVEFiLM By Post

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(27) IMDb 6.6/10
LOVEFiLM By Post

Matt Damon and Frances McDormand star in this ecological drama as two energy company representatives facing opposition from a rural community. Corporate hot-shot Steve Butler (Damon) and his colleague Sue Thomason (McDormand) arrive in the economically depressed Pennsylvanian farming town of McKinley to try and persuade local landowners to sell their mineral drilling rights to their employer, Global Crosspower Solutions. With a reputation for getting results at a relatively small cost, Steve is confident he'll soon have the locals signed up to a deal. But when local school science teacher Frank Yates (Hal Holbrook) raises concerns about the drilling process known as 'fracking', and environmental supporter Dustin Noble (John Krasinski) decides to start a grassroots campaign against Global, Steve suddenly realises that the goalposts have shifted.

Starring:
Hal Holbrook, Frances McDormand
Rental Formats:
DVD, Blu-ray

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 2 hours 0 minutes
Starring Hal Holbrook, Frances McDormand, John Krasinski, Rosemarie DeWitt, Matt Damon
Director Gus Van Sant
Genres Drama
Studio UNIVERSAL PICTURES UK VIDEO RENTAL
Rental release 12 February 2014
Main languages English
Dubbing German
Subtitles German
Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 2 hours 0 minutes
Starring Hal Holbrook, Frances McDormand, John Krasinski, Rosemarie DeWitt, Matt Damon
Director Gus Van Sant
Genres Drama
Studio UNIVERSAL PICTURES UK VIDEO RENTAL
Rental release 12 February 2014
Main languages English
Dubbing Portuguese, Spanish, German
Subtitles Portuguese, Spanish, German, Chinese
Hearing impaired subtitles English

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By THE MOVIE GUY on 5 May 2013
Format: DVD
This is a soft hitting environmental film. Steve Butler (Matt Damon) represents Global which wants to buy the gas drilling rights to a town. He is from a farming community, but can't drive a stick shift. He is also ill informed of the dangers of fracking. His partner is Sue (Frances McDormand) a working mom who tries to parent from Skype. In the town of Miller's Falls, they meet resistance from Frank (Hal Holbrook) the local science teacher and an environmental activist (John Krasinski).

Rob (Titus Welliver) who owns Rob's Guns and Groceries is sweet on Sue while flirty school teacher Alice (Rosemarie DeWitt) sparks Matt's love interest. The film uses stock cardboard characters to create a nice feel good tale. There is a twist at the end that wasn't too much of a shock. The farmer's have to decide if they want to sell the rights and risk losing their land to environmental poisoning, or wait and lose the land due to poverty as government subsidies dwindle and market prices fall. It is a gamble either way.

The film is not a documentary. It does inform the viewer what fracking is and why it poses danger, but doesn't drive it home to the point of turn off.

Parental Guide: f-bomb. No sex or nudity.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Antenna TOP 100 REVIEWER on 29 April 2013
Format: DVD
Reminiscent of Erin Brockovich but not nearly as effective, this is one of those dramas on a topical environmental theme. Matt Damon plays Steve Butler, a salesman whose success in persuading hard-up American farmers to sign contracts with a major fracking company is based on personal experience. When the closure of a caterpillar assembly plant brought depression to his own home town, it was the cheques from a fracking firm's gas extraction that gave the local farmers the opportunity to buy their kids a decent education and escape to a better life.

Inevitably, the time comes when Steve encounters major local opposition. Although it is surprising that he and his pragmatic female colleague Sue Thomason seem so ill-prepared for this, the drama develops quite well, managing to portray the pair as both sympathetic and morally compromised. Despite other reviewers' criticisms of the ending, I found it contained a neat twist which prevented the film from ending up too corny or predictable.

There are entertaining scenes and wry touches but, perhaps because fracking is a dry subject, some incidents seemed pointless padding intended to "lighten things up" yet missing the mark. The direction struck me as wooden at times, and I often felt unengaged, although interested in the issue.

A sense of rural America comes across strongly. I particularly liked the homemade shop sign proclaiming, "Guns, Groceries, Guitars and Gas". The use of folky-sounding music in the background which proved to be Milk Carton Kids' tracks like "Snake Eyes" proved a welcome discovery.

I was left feeling this was a missed opportunity to create what could have been a gripping film, with the relationships between the main characters and the arguments on both sides more strongly developed. It was as if the director was scared of boring the audience and, lacking the courage of his convictions, undestimated them.
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Format: DVD
It's hard to dislike such an obviously well-meaning movie, with its attractive cast, nice camera work, and sensible message, but there's something maybe too low-key about it for it to be totally compelling dramatically. That might be because it seems not sure whether the drama or the message should come to the fore. The message is two-part: first, it's that international multi-billion dollar corporations are ruthless in protecting their bottom lines; second is the point that in some cases, the people that they seek to make deals with are in impossible situations and often the promised deal is the best they can hope to get. That latter message is what Steve Butler (Matt Damon), representing Global Energy, is telling the small farmers of McKinley, PA who can't make good livings from their land and are being offered large sums and other incentives to lease their land for hydraulic fracturing, "fracking," for natural gas. He believes it -- his pitch is that when his family's Iowa town went under when Caterpillar left, he saw the impossibility of making small farming work. He can't guarantee that fracking won't have some adverse environmental consequences, but these aren't inevitable, he argues, and besides -- where else would you get money to enable you to live a decent life and give the kids a decent education?

Steve and his sales partner Sue (Frances McDormand) are making progress, but two complications arise: a crusty local schoolteacher, Frank Yates (Hal Holbrook), reveals a good deal of expertise about the physics and hydraulics of fracking -- and he has enough standing in the town to be able to persuade the local board to allow a town-wide vote on whether or not to allow fracking in McKinley.
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By technoguy VINE VOICE on 27 April 2014
Format: DVD
The title tells us the film is taking on one of the present day’s big subjects,fracking,but it has undertones of biblical proportions,with a big director(Van Sant) and big stars,Damon,who co-wrote the story by Eggers,and the dependable McDormand. Steve(Damon) is committed to his job of persuading small town people, small farmers,to sell the rights of their land for the drilling for natural gas, only because he came from a small town which died when the industry left.Steve thinks he’s there to bring benefits to the small farmers,who are living through hard times.They want to get their kids through college and this is the way.He is convinced that rural life cannot be sustained by agriculture alone.Steve has been picked by Global Crosspower Solutions to promote big business, smooth anxieties,tap into the yokel mindset,with evangelism.

Steve is up against a local science teacher Frank Yates(Hal Holbrook),who has researched the topic,and knows they only go to the poor areas to exploit the deposits,and is sceptical about the effects of the fracking process.Steve also has environmental activist Dustin Noble(Krasinski),who has turned up with an axe to grind against Global,telling people fracking in his hometown led to the poisoning of farm animals and the destruction of the local economy.He’s seen improbably whipping up the folk in a bar with a rendering of Springsteen’s ‘Dancing in the Dark’.He also makes a beeline(and the moral highground) for local teacher Alice,whom Steve fancied.This is not a debate about fracking,but fracking is the Maguffin of the movie.Steve is essentially a decent guy(“I’m not a bad guy”),but he knows he’s sold himself to the corporation,and some locals in a bar attack his complacency,punching him.
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