There are times when the comfort of predictability, a cocoon of complacency is the perfect anecdote in a season of massive doses of mayhem, morbidity, dismemberment and destruction.
“Promised Land” is the fare, pabulum, alleviating the the gloom of “Les Miz,” “Django Unchained”; a dose of “fracking” (a combination of water, sand and chemicals, hydraulically drilled into the ground to release natural gas) leads to a mildly entertaining film about the explosion of modern technology and its harmful/healing effects on a small farming community, slowly suffocating from financial duress.
“Steve Butler” (Matt Damon) an executive with a monolithic gas company and his partner “Sue”(a tired Frances McDormand) have a wham/bam approach to closing the deal with needy, destitute farmers; it has become so easy that they are bamboozled when this tiny town in Western Pennsylvania questions the validity of “fracking”. Enter, “Dustin Nobel” a grass roots environmentalist, played charmingly, succinctly, devastatingly by John Krasinski; his sincerity, levity and humor deliciously redeem the mediocrity of the script.
Rosemarie DeWitt “Alice” , an untraditional beauty, a teacher, has opted for the idyllic life of “farm county” versus the cacophony of an urban metropolis. Her magnetic aura is a dynamic draw for any male, within glancing proximity.
“Promised Land” delivers its message without blatant, bludgeoning propaganda; both sides vie for success, legitimacy; gray, not black or white, dominate each equation; ultimately “to frack or not to frack.”
It is sweetly satisfying forecasting the conclusion; “Promised Land” gifts the viewer wholesome folks, devoid of pretense; illusions rooted in reality; they want to educate their children, fix their tractors; enjoy the local pub on Friday evenings. For many, this is as good as it gets.
TWO AND 1/2 STARS!!