With all the talk about what “Promised Land” is and isn’t about, we’ll leave it to co-star Titus Welliver to break it down. “It has great story because it’s really about the issue we face right now with this hydro-fracking. Within that framework is a story about people and how they navigate the idea of making a lot of money when things aren’t exactly how they seem on the surface,” he told Hollywood News. “It’s about people going through changes and how they perceive things or what the truths the ideals are that they have, how they change as things unfold. That was an incredible experience.” Yep, that’s it in a nutshell, and once again the awards season race has shifted with the arrival of the trailer for the film.
Co-written by co-stars Matt Damon and John Krasinski, the latter of whom conceived the idea with Dave Eggers, and directed by Gus Van Sant, it looks like this one is poised to start a lot of conversations about the encroaching arm of corporations on small-town life, the eroding rural farming industry, the cost of scarring the environment versus providing for our future and more. But if anything, what we see so far here isn’t, thankfully, preachy.
The story follows Steve Butler (Damon), a corporate salesman who arrives in a rural town with his sales partner, Sue Thomason (Frances McDormand). With the town having been hit hard by economic decline in 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 (Hal Holbrook) with support from a grassroots campaign led by another man (Krasinski) who counters Steve both personally and professionally. The main idea that comes across here is the cost of personal integrity against financial and professional gain.
Anyway, it’s certainly a lot to think about. “Promised Land” drops into theaters at the end of the year on December 28th. Watch below.