Promised Land is the third collaboration between the Good Will Hunting duo – writer/star Matt Damon and director Gus Van Sant – who last united ten years ago on the divisive lyrical experiment Gerry. Damon plays Steve Butler, a rural town native-turned successful natural gas corporate salesman. He’s the antithesis of a Frank Capra protagonist, whose naivety and innocence makes them susceptible to cynicism in the face of corporate interests (see: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington). That Steve starts disillusioned is one of the film’s problems, for reasons that will be explained later.
Steve’s on the verge of a promotion when he and partner Sue Thomason (Frances McDormand) head to rural Pennsylvania, anticipating an easy job convincing locals to sell their properties for drilling rights. However, that’s before encountering such unexpected obstacles as a distinguished high school teacher (Hal Holbrook), whose respectability and ...
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- Sandy Schaefer
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