Promised Land
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: -4

Matt Damon, Frances McDormand, Hal Hollbrook, John Krasinski. Directed by Gus Van Sant. Limited release 12/28/12 with expanded release 1/4/13.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Promised Land follows two corporate salespeople who visit a rural town in an attempt to buy drilling rights from the local residents. But while the people in this hard-hit community will become rich, there is also the possibility that they will become sick from the chemicals used in the process known as ďhydraulic frackuring.Ē This fact the natural gas people donít want the townsfolk to know.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Of course, there are two sides to every story, but the film is not really about fair discussion. There is only one agenda here and itís the conspiracy-laced anti-big-business theme. The premise that hydraulic frakuring is harmful has been debated. For some reason, leftist organizations such as Politico and The Huffington Post and left-leaning movie people are against the practice.

To be fair to Matt Damon, Iíve interviewed him (The Adjustment Bureau). He seems to be down to earth, a sincere guy. But this film was financed by a company subsidized by United Arab Emirates. You think they may have ulterior motives? The filmmakers told the residents where they shot the film that it would be fair to the drilling industry. I donít believe that it is fair and neither do many of the residents who felt they were betrayed by the film company.

A spokesman for Focus Features said, "We've been surprised at the emergence of what looks like a concerted campaign targeting the film even before anyone's seen it." For a little film like this, generally controversy is seen as a good thing by those who made it.

The main purpose of the film appears to me to be anti-big business. They may have a point. Iím not sure big anything is really our friend, whether itís big business or big government. But the fracturing process may not be the evil the film presents it to be.

Well acted, nicely directed, but most filmmakers who pride themselves for exposing a wrongdoing by Big Brother or Big Business, seldom, if ever, suggest a solution. If oil, gas and coal (not to mention ineffective windmills and risky nuclear plants) present more problems than solutions, then maybe there is no answer. If there is an answer, this film doesnít offer it.

The movie also contains an alarming amount of obscene and profane language. It seems no one in the picture can muster a simply declarative sentence without the inclusion of the f-bomb or calling upon Jesus Christ with a non-spiritual intent.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Focus Features

Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: Over 40 obscenities, mostly the s- and f-words.
Profanity: Nine misuses of Christís name and two profane uses of Godís name.
Violence: A brief fight in a bar; we see photos of dead cows; scare tactics are used by the evil big company.
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: Lots of drinking and smoking.
Other: Much of the objectionable language comes from the male lead.
Running Time: 106 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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