6.6/10
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104 user 240 critic

Promised Land (2012)

R | | Drama | 4 January 2013 (USA)
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2:30 | Trailer

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ON DISC
A salesman for a natural gas company experiences life-changing events after arriving in a small town, where his corporation wants to tap into the available resources.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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David Churchill
Carla Bianco ...
Waitress
Joe Coyle ...
Michael Downey
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Frank Yates
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Arlene
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Rob
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Drew's Girl
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Drew Scott
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Claire Allen
...
Coach
Garrett Ashbaugh ...
Basketball Player
Jericho Morgan ...
Jericho (as Jerico Morgan)
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Storyline

Corporate salesman Steve Butler (Matt Damon) arrives in a rural town with his sales partner, Sue Thomason (McDormand). With the town having been hit hard by the economic decline of recent years, the two outsiders see the local citizens as likely to accept their company's offer, for drilling rights to their properties, as much-needed relief. What seems like an easy job for the duo becomes complicated by the objection of a respected schoolteacher (Holbrook) with support from a grassroots campaign led by another man (Krasinski) who counters Steve both personally and professionally. Written by Focus Features

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

What's your price?

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

| |  »

Language:

Release Date:

4 January 2013 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Terra Prometida  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$173,915 (USA) (28 December 2012)

Gross:

$7,597,898 (USA) (24 January 2013)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Rob, a store clerk who appears throughout the movie, is played by Titus Welliver, immediately recognizable to Lost (2004) fans as the "Man in Black." Subtle homage is played to this in Sue's final visit to the store. The vantage point is from within the store. The glass door, through which the viewer sees Sue approaching, is slightly off center and the camera pulled back just enough to show some local ads and announcements. Most of them are illegible, but one stands out with big bold letters across the top that read "L O S T" (followed by some smaller print and pictures of a cat). See more »

Goofs

In the first meeting in the school gym, the coach says that the basketball team is getting ready for regionals. Yet it is clearly summertime and not February, when this would be happening. Three week later, the basketball team is playing a game and all the plants are green and the trees have leaves. See more »

Quotes

Alice: Let me guess: 40, married, marketing, two kids.
Steve Butler: 38, stripper/waitress,but born to be a singer.
Alice: Fuck you, I'm a teacher!
Steve Butler: No, I was talking about me. You wanna see a dance? It's 100 bucks.
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Crazy Credits

Through most of the end credits, the camera zooms out to a wide shot of the town where the film takes place. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #21.54 (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Five O'Clock World
Written by Allen Reynolds
Performed by The Vogues
Courtesy of CO & CE Records
Under license from Nola Leone/ACE Music Services, LLC
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User Reviews

 
Dry Land
7 September 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Matt Damon, once again functioning in the dual role of scriptwriter and main actor, reengages with director Gus van Sant (previous joint ventures include "Gerry" and the Oscar-winning "Good Will Hunting") in search of another fruitful cooperative endeavour . Based on a concept written by Dave Eggers and co-scripted by co-star John Krasinski, "Promised Land" is an extremely competent piece of story-telling, however laboured by a somewhat unconvincing fictionalisation of the matter at hand.

A touchy environmental issue has been presented in one of Gus van Sant's most down-to-earth and standard features to date, where the devilish fracking industry is the focus of a well-meant, if mishitting, effort. Steve Butler (Matt Damon) works as a consultant for the gas industry, roaming the countryside purchasing up land destined for exploitation by deep drilling. Together with the rigid Sue Thompson (Frances McDormand) they form an effective team, effortlessly buying up land in the idyllic small towns, strained by lack of cash, thus falling into financial despair. The gas shelves offer an option for easy cash - leasing the land and energy resources hidden deep in its bowels, thus bringing promise for better days. When Butler and Thompson are sent by their employer Global Crosspower Solutions to a cash-starved Pennsylvania farming community, the land seems ripe for the picking. Nonetheless the dark side of the industry slowly filters through, when the ecological soundness of the natural gas fracking process is brought into question by Frank Yates (Hal Holbrook), a physics professor emeritus teaching at a local school. Troubles slowly start arising, coupled by the arrival of environmentalist Dustin Noble (John Krasinski), who initiates a grassroots campaign against fracking. The two soon start to compete for victory, not only amongst the community, but also with regards to the heart of small-town beauty Alice (Rosemarie DeWitt).

Given the continuing discussion regarding the business, who on the outside wants to appear clean, whilst simultaneously sweeping all burning faucets, poisoned wells and dead livestock under the social radar, "Promised Land" could have been an important voice in the discussion, at least forcibly bringing the issue into the public eye. However the restraint shown in presenting the controversies behind fracking seem to be a missed opportunity, as the movie slowly drifts away from the core issue towards an order of melodrama and bickering between two sides of the debate. Not much however is done to present the controversy itself: Is fracking really a threat? Or are we just supposed to decide by ourselves through google after watching the movie? Naturally "Promised Land" isn't a documentary, hence the factual layer is nowhere as dedicated and impacting as in the groundbreaking "Gas Land". Nonetheless the lack of contextualisation is evident, offering too much space for any side to decide for themselves. Much focus is offered towards the question of whether the impoverished farm-owners should just take the money and renege their environmental fears. When someone's livelihood is at stake is it moral and right to ignore ecology? Somewhere amongst this nuanced approach to the issue, the question lingers: is there any reason to really fret regarding fracking or is this whole discussion just pointless? A well researched scene featuring Hal Halbrook would have done the movie a world of good...

Thankfully the script by Damon and Kosinski refrains from painting a cosy picture of right or wrong, presenting the local town life as a simple debate amongst immediate gratification and the perspectives of losses in the future. However the somewhat idyllic presentation of small town life causes the poignancy level of the question to drop, a far cry from the doom and gloom on offer in "Gas Land", the desperation lingering in people's eyes. Damon himself is well cast as a small-town boy fully dedicated to the company and the riches it offers, as a positive alternative. A far cry from a dastardly cooperative mug, his much more level-headed character is a welcome change, which avoids demonizing the people behind the problems. This occasionally helps to strengthen the rivalry for people's hearts, showing that the issue isn't an easy issue to resolve as either side would want to portray. Nonetheless this ambiguity also works against the movie, offering many points of view, but failing to truly show an in-depth focus on any, instead swaggering away into standard dramatic contrivances and a somewhat unwelcome twist at the end, which unravels much of the prior arguments, instead leaving focus on issues, which shouldn't really be the point of the movie. To some extent the characters and their tribulations override the integral story, somewhat collapsing the concept.


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