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Promised Land

Promised Land

5.0 1
Director: Gus Van Sant,

Cast: Gus Van Sant, Matt Damon, John Krasinski, Frances McDormand


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A small-town teacher stands up to a pair of drilling representatives who are determined to exploit the local resources, and receives some unexpected support as the community rallies to drive away the persistent interlopers in this drama from director Gus Van Sant. Steve Butler (Matt Damon) is a corporate salesman with a reputation for


A small-town teacher stands up to a pair of drilling representatives who are determined to exploit the local resources, and receives some unexpected support as the community rallies to drive away the persistent interlopers in this drama from director Gus Van Sant. Steve Butler (Matt Damon) is a corporate salesman with a reputation for getting results. When the company he works for draws up plans to drill for natural gas in an economically depressed farming community, Steve and his partner (Frances McDormand) attempt to convince the locals that they have an opportunity to profit from the project. At first the locals are welcoming, but when venerable teacher Frank Yates (Hal Holbrook) voices objection, concerned locals Dustin (John Krasinski) and Alice (Rosemarie DeWitt) help to launch an effective grassroots campaign against the drilling. In addition to co-producing and co-starring in Promised Land, Damon and Krasinski also collaborated on the screenplay for the film, adapted from a story by Dave Eggers (Where the Wild Things Are, Away We Go).

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Gus Van Sant's Promised Land -- co-written by stars Matt Damon and John Krasinski from a story by novelist Dave Eggers -- is the kind of socially conscious movie that Robert Redford has been trying to make for pretty much his entire directing career, and it's so much more than a political tract precisely because, unlike Redford, the filmmakers never forget to keep the human stories -- not the issues -- front and center. Damon stars as Steve Butler, a representative for a natural-gas company who, as the movie opens, travels with his colleague Sue (Frances McDormand) to a small, financially struggling rural community in order to buy up land rights so his business can extract the resources it believes are under the citizens' feet. Because Steve is making this offer at a time when farms are failing and the economy is collapsing, and because he genuinely believes this is the only way he can preserve the sort of small-town life he grew up with, he quickly wins over many townspeople. However, at a community meeting, a local science teacher (Hal Holbrook) explains to everyone in attendance that "fracking," the method used to extract the gas, has in many cases caused severe ecological damage to water supplies and farm animals in the surrounding area. Just as Steve thinks this will be the only obstacle to his goal, along comes Dustin (John Krasinski), an environmental crusader who shows up and canvasses the locals in order to warn them of the ramifications of selling out to Steve's corporation. While that synopsis makes it sound like a turgid, manipulative, liberal-do-gooder movie, Promised Land actually delivers a compelling human drama along with its message. Damon's character isn't a bad guy; he's doing what he thinks is right, and his flirtation with a local woman (Rosemarie DeWitt) has a natural ease that also helps keep us from ever assuming that Steve is just a corporate shark. The whole film is populated with first-rate actors who understand that little moments are what build memorable characters, and so it's a kick to see skilled performers like Titus Welliver as a local store owner who flirts with Sue -- they've got a genuine, low-key chemistry. This movie comes 15 years after Damon and Ben Affleck became household names thanks to the Van Sant-directed drama Good Will Hunting, and it's hard not to draw comparisons between the two films. Interestingly, Steve is a slick, ingratiating guy who comes to realize he might not have as tight a grip on the world as he thought -- exactly the kind of role that would have fit Affleck perfectly. That being the case, it's fun to see how Damon shades the character more toward earnestness than unctuousness. However, Dustin, with his seemingly unyielding sincerity and Midwestern good cheer, is a stereotypical Damon part, an everyman who appears to know more than he wants you to think. At first, Krasinski plays the part as an edgier version of Jim from The Office, but a key confrontation between Dustin and Steve at a local bar, in which the activist directly challenges the businessman about what he thinks he's capable of, gives Krasinski the opportunity to let forcefulness overtake his usual laid-back vibe. It's some of the best work of his career. Thanks to uniformly good performances, rock-solid direction, and a lived-in humanism, Promised Land manages to avoid the pitfalls that sink so many films like it -- it's the sort of movie that will make right-wing culture warriors bemoan it as a product of "liberal Hollywood," but it possesses an undeniable appeal for everyone.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Focus Features
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Special Features

Extended scene; The making of Promised Land

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Matt Damon Steve Butler
John Krasinski Dustin Noble
Frances McDormand Sue Thomason
Rosemarie DeWitt Alice
Hal Holbrook Frank Yates
Scoot McNairy Jeff Dennon
Titus Welliver Rob
Benjamin Sheeler Attendant
Terry Kinney David Churchill
Carla Bianco Waitress
Joe Coyle Michael Downey
Dorothy Silver Arlene
Lexi Cowan Drew's Girl
Tim Guinee Drew Scott
Sara Lindsey Claire Allen
Frank Conforti Coach
Garrett Ashbaugh Basketball Player
Jerico Morgan Jericho
Max Schuler Carson Allen
August G. Siciliano 5th Grader
Ken Strunk Gerry Richards
Karen Baum Lynn
Gerri Bumbaugh Jesse the Bartender
Johnny Cicco Donny
Erin Baldwin Buddy's Waitress
Kristin Slaysman Gwen
Andrew Kuebel 6-year-old Boy
Matthew Ferrante Drummer
Justin Cook Guitar #1
Steven Craven Bass
Bruce Craven Guitar #2
Gene Williams Keyboard
Dan Anders Large Man
Lucas Black Paul Geary
Sandy Medred Paul's Girlfriend
Carrington E. Vaughn Colin
Cain Alexander Danny Thomason
Joy De La Paz Motel Receptionist
Lennon Wynn Kuzniar Lemonade Girl at Gym
Payton Godfrey Lemonade Girl at Fair

Technical Credits
Gus Van Sant Director,Executive Producer
Christine Beveridge Makeup
Matt Damon Producer,Screenwriter
Daniel Clancy Production Designer
Dave Eggers Original Story
Danny Elfman Score Composer
Isabel Freer Associate Producer
Jonathan King Executive Producer
John Krasinski Producer,Screenwriter
Francine Maisler Casting
Chris Moore Producer
Juliet Polcsa Costumes/Costume Designer
Brian Reitzell Musical Direction/Supervision
Billy Rich Editor
Mike Sablone Co-producer
Linus Sandgren Cinematographer
Ron Schmidt Executive Producer
Jeff Skoll Executive Producer
Drew Vinton Co-producer
David J. Webb Asst. Director
Gregory A. Weimerskirch Art Director

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Promised Land
1. Chapter 1 [6:50]
2. Chapter 2 [3:10]
3. Chapter 3 [5:40]
4. Chapter 4 [4:39]
5. Chapter 5 [5:55]
6. Chapter 6 [9:36]
7. Chapter 7 [5:22]
8. Chapter 8 [6:17]
9. Chapter 9 [2:45]
10. Chapter 10 [3:59]
11. Chapter 11 [1:48]
12. Chapter 12 [5:48]
13. Chapter 13 [4:47]
14. Chapter 14 [4:50]
15. Chapter 15 [5:49]
16. Chapter 16 [6:16]
17. Chapter 17 [3:16]
18. Chapter 18 [5:13]
19. Chapter 19 [6:44]
20. Chapter 20 [3:05]
21. Chapter 21 [4:29]


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Promised Land 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
AlchemystAZ More than 1 year ago
We added it to our list of Movies About Nasty Companies, along with THE INSIDER, The ALIEN series, the first minutes of JOE VS THE VOLCANO, OFFICE SPACE, and a few others. Some may be disappointed that it is not another DOC HOLLYWOOD comedy but instead a Message Picture. I must admit that I own some oil and gas stock, but The Message is real. Beings truly sick of those BP TV ads, I hope this movie succeeds before it's too late. The haters of actual global warming warnings, science and evolution, humanism and rationality, deserve to foam at the mouth. Hit 'em hard, Matt!