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Promised Land


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.

Actors: Benjamin Sheeler , Terry Kinney , Scoot McNairy , Tim Guinee , Carla Bianco , Titus Welliver , Hal Holbrook , Lucas Black , Rosemarie DeWitt , Frances McDormand , John Krasinski , Matt Damon
Directors: Gus Van Sant
Release: 2013-01-04
More Info:
  • Owen Gleiberman

    Urgent, heartfelt, and not-quite-as-predictable-as-you-think environmental rabble-rouser.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Jeannette Catsoulis

    Though the film eventually caves to sentiment and stereotype, its alert performances and muted rhythms offer much to enjoy in the interim.

    NPR Full Review
  • Joe Neumaier

    Krasinki's soft-sell script, lets the movie's ideas get absorbed without grandstanding or pretension. Its issues go down with a smile and common sense, which turns out to be exactly the right formula.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Lawrence Toppman

    Van Sant moves easily from dreamy, impressionistic narratives to conventional, less stylized storytelling, and he does the latter job well in Promised Land.

    Charlotte Observer Full Review
  • Connie Ogle

    The characters drive this story, not ideology. Damon and McDormand are terrific as co-workers seeking the same goal, though they see their work from different points of view.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Claudia Puig

    Promised Land is an involving and timely tale that explores the changing nature and complex challenges of rural life.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    Promised Land is a fine place to start appreciating Matt Damon, who always makes it seem as if everybody else is acting and he's just going through the movie being natural.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Marc Mohan

    The rhetorically stacked deck, and some unconvincing third-act plot twists, get in the way of this movie's efforts to reach the cinematic promised land of true greatness.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    Director Gus Van Sant finds the human side of a knotty issue. No polemics. Just the face of a new America in crisis.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Marjorie Baumgarten

    The film has lots of small moments that make it a worthy effort.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    Promised Land is more effective as an anti-fracking screed than as a drama. Damon has his low-key charisma and Van Sant captures the enraged anomie of the community, but, except for one big plot twist, everything in this film is telegraphed from the first frame.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Eric Kohn

    Promised Land can't help but preach its cause in obvious ways that continually hold back an otherwise well-acted, swiftly paced drama.

    indieWIRE Full Review
  • Roger Moore

    Damon the Oscar-winning writer does something nobody else in Hollywood would – write a dumb character for Matt Damon to play.

    McClatchy-Tribune News Service Full Review
  • Joe Williams

    Because he's the protagonist of the movie and played by the likable Matt Damon, we keep an open mind, but Promised Land is morally ambiguous to a fault.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    It's a fine line between interesting characters and "Northern Exposure" quirk, but the movie mostly stays on the right side of it.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Andrew Pulver

    Promised Land seems to lose its nerve a little politically: as it goes on, you realise it isn't about fracking at all, but a tract on machiavellian corporate behaviour and their employees' self-deception.

    The Guardian Full Review
  • Mike Scott

    The ultimate goal of a film like this, of course, is to change minds. As compelling a case as it builds, Promised Land isn't quite persuasive enough to be able to promise to do that.

    New Orleans Times-Picayune Full Review
  • Todd McCarthy

    Promised Land presents its environmental concerns in a clear, upfront manner but hits some narrative and character bumps in the second half that weaken the impact of this fundamentally gentle, sympathetic work.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Liam Lacey

    Promised Land is a low-budget effort, far too awkward and contrived a drama to change many hearts and minds.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    There's also reason to worry when a simplistic movie like this one takes on an issue of overarching importance to the nation's future. The challenges presented by fracking are immense, and Capra-esque nostalgia isn't helpful.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Ann Hornaday

    Despite their Everyman appeal, Damon and Krasinski don't create much by way of emotional investment, instead becoming mirror images of their most mild-mannered, white-bread selves.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    Unfortunately, much of what's good about Promised Land is easily forgotten as a result of the preachy, impossible-to-swallow final 15 minutes in which the protagonist is subjected to character assassination, the screenplay turns into a sermon, and narrative intelligence is discarded in favor of a message.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    Promised Land is a frustrating film to watch. It should be better than this, smarter than this.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Kenneth Turan

    It's got a strong cast and an intriguing premise that has the added bonus of real-world relevance. But, good intentions and good work aside, the film flounders before it reaches its conclusion.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • A.O. Scott

    An earnest attempt, sometimes effective, sometimes clumsy, to dramatize the central arguments about fracking and its impact.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    More an argument than a fully fleshed-out drama ... The script is unconvincing; two key narrative twists, one related to the other, are deeply hokey.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Nick Pinkerton

    Van Sant knows how to display the common touch, but the movie is a hard sell whose ending is never in doubt.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Scott Tobias

    No one seems to recognize the irony of making a film about corporate rigging that is itself outrageously rigged.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Justin Chang

    By manipulating their story to advance the cynical notion that you really can't trust anyone, the filmmakers inadvertently beg the question why their own motives should be so above suspicion.

    Variety Full Review
  • Rodrigo Perez

    It's Middle America vs. big bad corporate America, and while the (not so) "bad guy" predictably finds salvation in salt-of-the-earth people, Promised Land often leaves a sour taste in your mouth.

    The Playlist Full Review
  • Bilge Ebiri

    It collapses on all fronts, delivering hot-button platitudes and just-add-water character development.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Keith Uhlich

    Yet worst of all is the way the film ultimately reveals its humanistic setup as a lazy pretext to redeem Damon's big-business apologist through the healing power of nature. He's not the only one who should be put out to pasture.

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • Richard Corliss

    Left-wingers in the mainstream media - by which I mean me - are supposed to lap up a movie that plays to our farm-loving, tree-hugging prejudices. But even we know that well-meaning does not automatically equal good movie. Some organic life is needed. And the only crop Promised Land harvests is Capra Corn.

    Time Full Review
  • Kyle Smith

    Much has been made of the fact that Promised Land was partly funded by the enemies of our domestic gas industry - the foreign oil nabobs in the United Arab Emirates. But the film gets so cheesy that I suspect it was also secretly funded by Velveeta.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Ed Gonzalez

    Gus Van Sant's new film offends for how it views the struggles of the landowners at the heart of its story as subservient to their oppressor's triumph of the spirit.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • David Denby

    Like so many earnestly conceived morality tales, Promised Land is built around a man's quandaries. Any actor less skilled and sympathetic than Damon might have betrayed the material into obviousness. [14 Jan. 2013, p.78]

    The New Yorker Full Review
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