Occasionally a movie comes out with tons of TV hype, and supposed critical acclaim that almost seems forced. And that is the new Matt Damon movie, The Promised Land.
It's not often we get a good old fashioned anti-fracking movie for our entertainment but that is exactly what this is. It's anti-fracking, and overall anti-big business and energy. I know this can be an emotional issue for many, as passions potentially fire high on each side. Too bad they made such a boring movie about such an impassioned issue.
Damon stars as Steve, who works for a fictional natural gas energy company. His job along with Sue, (Francis MacDormand) is to go to small, dying farm towns and sell gas drilling leases to those who need the money. There they meet some friendly greetings, and some resistance. Some of the push-back is from the educated locals, and of course a supposed small environmental group gets involved to try to discourage people from signing these leases. Sound exciting? Well, it's about as exciting as it sounds.
To it's credit. TPL does not get overly preachy about statistics on fracking, and how bad it can be in certain cases for the land. It does not go deeply into how much money this company will make, and how bad it can be potentially in some cases for those who do sign. It also does not make statistical cases for the other side either about how safe it is, and the like. And although it does in the end demonize big energy, it doesn't go as far as they could have.
Here's the trouble. This is the most boring movie of the year. Do not get sucked in to the TV ads about how The Oscars should take notice. What Oscar should take is No-Doze. This is a total snoozer. Nothing about this movie really works. The story is short on any real substance. The musical soundtrack sound like an unending sleepy Enja ballad, and the performances are completely uninspired.
This stars not only Damon,. but John Krasinsky and a completely forgettable supporting cast. I am a fan of much of Damon's work. He wrote this along with Krasinsky, and they are billing this as the same people who brought you Good Will Hunting. Be advised. This is NO Good Will Hunting. Regardless on where you fall on the whole fracking issue, this whole thing is just tired. There's a reason this has been released now and not over the holidays in wide release. They've got a dog on their hands, and they know it. It's borderline brutal.
The Promised Land. The Nyquil of movies. You may be asleep before your head hits the back of your theater chair.