28 December 2012 8:30 AM, PST | Vulture | See recent Vulture news »

Movies like Promised Land sometimes make me ashamed to be a liberal. Gus Van Sant’s heartland drama about a natural-gas company trying to take over a small town wants to make the personal political and vice versa, to use its protagonist’s indecision and lack of identity to make a broader point about the corporate, "just doing my job" ethos. But it collapses on all fronts, delivering hot-button platitudes and just-add-water character development.The protagonist in this case is Steve (Matt Damon, who co-scripted, with John Krasinski, from a story by Dave Eggers), who works for a giant energy company seeking to buy drilling rights to the land owned by members of a rural community. He and his partner Sue (Frances McDormand, typically excellent) go into towns, pretend to be down-home types, get people to sign over the rights, and then move on to the next gig. Sue’s »

- Bilge Ebiri

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