Focus Features | Release Date: December 28, 2012
6.0
USER SCORE
Mixed or average reviews based on 63 Ratings
USER RATING DISTRIBUTION
Positive:
29
Mixed:
25
Negative:
9
WATCH NOW
Stream On
Stream On
Review this movie
VOTE NOW
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Check box if your review contains spoilers 0 characters (5000 max)
7
hsg9000Jan 5, 2013
In a nutshell: fine acting, skillful directing, beautiful photography, sublime soundtrack, murky screenplay. The politics in the movie are actually rather low key -- the other "reviewers" here clearly haven't seen the movie and are trying toIn a nutshell: fine acting, skillful directing, beautiful photography, sublime soundtrack, murky screenplay. The politics in the movie are actually rather low key -- the other "reviewers" here clearly haven't seen the movie and are trying to push a "drill baby drill" perspective. The non-politics part of the screenplay is where the movie gets into trouble. Damon plays "Steve" who is supposed to be a hotshot closer who can get people to sign over their rights three times better than any other team. Yet he seems befuddled and confused through much of the whole process once he arrives in town to sign people's rights away. We're told he's good, but we never really see a gung-ho seller. Although Damon is a fine actor, I think he's miscast -- the part really needs an oily, dubious huckster like Brad Pitt. Frances McDormand is exceptional in her part, and Holbrook gives a sublime performance, although his part just disappears through the middle of the movie. Krasinski is exceptionally fine here and really lives the part of a glib gladhander. Rosemarie DeWitt is just wonderful in a beautiful performance. In sum, I wouldn't call this a "must see," but it's definitely worth a cable or DVD watching for the fine performances and lovely look of the movie. Expand
3 of 4 users found this helpful31
All this user's reviews
9
MovieBuff2013Jan 5, 2013
Great acting and a great story. Worth seeing with all of the big blockbusters out in the theaters today. Like small town America, this film captures the charm and spirit of those of us who still believe in an American Dream that isn't filledGreat acting and a great story. Worth seeing with all of the big blockbusters out in the theaters today. Like small town America, this film captures the charm and spirit of those of us who still believe in an American Dream that isn't filled with greed and the false promises of big corporations. Expand
2 of 3 users found this helpful21
All this user's reviews
8
ShaleShockMediaJan 6, 2013
Viewers Respond to Promised Land
1 of 2 users found this helpful11
All this user's reviews
8
hollyvJan 16, 2013
The take away is this. Farm families may not have loads of money but they have land. The land stays with the family for generations... Land is permanent. Fracking doesn't destroy the land, it just makes it no longer suitable for familyThe take away is this. Farm families may not have loads of money but they have land. The land stays with the family for generations... Land is permanent. Fracking doesn't destroy the land, it just makes it no longer suitable for family farming. When this happens? The money is (more often than not) quickly spent. Money is not permanent. The natural gas companies don't live and farm there, so this works for them. For the farm families? They've been there for over 100 years. I know. I grew up in an area now overrun with fracking. In Pennsylvania, these are really family farms... not the thousand acre corn fields of the west, but 100-200 acre dairy farms.

If an energy company wanted to dig for coal on your land, we would assume that the land would be lost for farming. Natural gas is currently just as destructive - in a different way. What we need is a safe way to extract energy from the planet. It's this race to resources that the movie focuses on -- can the energy companies get those leases signed quickly, move in with equipment, remove all the natural gas and get out of town before the locals become politicized. Politics, corporate greed, conspiracy theories and lobbying groups come together in this film. There's also a good twist on this dynamic that will leave you thinking...
Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
7
Sir_BrandonJan 10, 2013
Matt Damon and director Gus Van Sant reunite after 15 years since Good Will Hunting for a small film that is more than just about fracking. It takes on the issue of big business coming in to small, poor towns and sucking the life right out ofMatt Damon and director Gus Van Sant reunite after 15 years since Good Will Hunting for a small film that is more than just about fracking. It takes on the issue of big business coming in to small, poor towns and sucking the life right out of them. Perhaps that is too harsh since it is up to the people in these towns to decide if they want to let them in or not. But corporations have a way to get precisely what they want by any means necessary. John Krasinski and Damon wrote the script and while it Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
7
SpangleApr 30, 2017
Promised Land is a celebration of this forgotten group of people. The farmers that slave daily to see their crops be profitable. The people that were left over when a factory closed. With a natural gas salesman swooping in and telling them toPromised Land is a celebration of this forgotten group of people. The farmers that slave daily to see their crops be profitable. The people that were left over when a factory closed. With a natural gas salesman swooping in and telling them to sell off their land to be fracked and strike it rich from the efforts of the gas company, Promised Land shows how much more is at stake. Fighting back against the fracking due to what it would do to their family's land, the people of this small Pennsylvania town are not so willing to sell out their land and their animals. After the government and their old jobs took everything else, this land and farm is all they have left and they are not willing to see it be sold to possibly become ruins after it is fracked. Showing the big conglomerate Global Crosspower Solutions do all they can to try and win over this town, Promised Land shows that those in the positions of the farmers are not just doing what they are out of pure arrogance or pride. This is all they have and they will not stand by and let it be destroyed in some get rich quick scheme. Something's are more important than money and this is one of them.

Sending in Steve Butler (Matt Damon) and Sue Thomason (Frances McDormand) to close the deal in the town, the two make very good headway and begin to have great success. However, a town meeting goes awry with science teacher, MA in Engineering holder, and former employee of Boeing Frank Yates (Hal Holbrook) arguing that fracking is not good for the water supply. Rattled, Steve winds up agreeing to a vote over whether or not the natural gas company can enter the town or not. Shortly after, environmentalist Dustin Noble (John Krasinski) arrives in town and begins rallying the troops against Steve and Global, even stealing Steve's new girl Alice (Rosemarie Dewitt).

Celebrating this working class American who loves the land and simply wants to be able to make ends meet, the two sides begin to clash. The two can see the benefit in selling out and making money while they can through a new industry. However, if it ruins the land, they will not be able to live with themselves. Elegantly showing the struggle faced by these citizens and how they know they need to find something new to do, but are too committed to their family farm to want to try and find a new option, Promised Land shows the tragic decision put before them: lose their identity or lose their dignity. It is not an easy choice and the film shows the negative forces surrounding their decision: propaganda from the environmentalists and empty promises and strong-arm tactics from the energy industry. Between the two, it feels like no decision is the right one and whatever route is chosen, one must follow their heart and figure out what is right through thorough soul searching.

However, in spite of its nuanced approach to these two sides, Promised Land can get a bit preachy at the end with its anti-corporate message and its pro-environment closing monologue by Damon's character. While it is well-written, it devolves into a bit of a public service announcement and is far too preachy in its third act to really make it all come together. Fortunately, until then, it gives a voice to the muted. Those whose issues are not worth becoming passionate over for many Americans and whose voices are written off as belonging to some nefarious group stuck in the past. These are hard working people who do what they do out of respect for their past generations and because they love what they do. Through people such as Alice, Frank, and Jeff Dennon (Scoot McNairy), we see just how they work to be able to accomplish anything. Shortcuts are not an option as they have spilled too much sweat on the soil to just sell it off. It is a part of who they are and they are a part of it. If it dies due to fracking, then a whole lot more than a few acres of land are dead: their whole lives are dead and gone forever.

Featuring an excellent lead performance from Damon alongside strong supporting turns from McDormand, Holbrook, Krasinski, Dewitt, McNairy, Titus Welliver, and Lucas Black, Promised Land may not be as good as the previous Gus Van Sant directed and Matt Damon co-written effort, but it is a good film nonetheless. Shining the spotlight on an area covered in eternal darkness with strong characters that bring the film to life with realistic drama and natural and easy flowing comedy, Promised Land is a film that has unfortunately been met with a mixed reception. In spite of its reception, it is an essential film that openly debates the pros and cons of fracking, as well as how things can get misrepresented in these cases and how much influence big companies truly have in the world. Bringing to the forefront the lives of farmers is not glamorous, but it is incredibly well taken in this smart, funny, and sad, story of a town fighting for its life against a natural gas giant.
Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
9
BradySmithAug 30, 2013
Talk about underrated. The movie is nearly perfect. It's characters feel more real and believable than any I can even remember, and the screenplay is keen on real life interaction. The character development here never feels forced. InTalk about underrated. The movie is nearly perfect. It's characters feel more real and believable than any I can even remember, and the screenplay is keen on real life interaction. The character development here never feels forced. In addition to this the acting is basically flawless from the entire cast, and it's directed with extreme skill. It's about as good as a drama of this breed can get. I have a feeling that the natural gas companies paid off some of the reviewers so they'd review it poorly. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
8
CD28498Apr 12, 2016
This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This is a movie where basically a team from a large company comes in wants to buy land from a small town for their oil company's expansion project. Since this small town has not been having the best time money wise they at first welcome it then a small group of people then realize how this land should not be used not be wasted this way and that it is their land. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews