Trailer Talk: 'Promised Land' Presents Big Oil as the Enemy ... Again

"Promised Land" features lead performances by Matt Damon and John Krasinski and is directed by Gus Van Sant. Damon and Krasinski are also credited with writing the script. A trailer has just hit the web, and guess who the bad guys are in the film?

Synopsis: 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.


Thoughts: Watching the trailer for "Promised Land" brings nothing but sadness to me. Sadness for the obvious biases, flaws and just plain awfulness that artists like Damon and Van Sant are lowering themselves to with this project. Damon is a fine actor who has shined all the way from "Good Will Hunting" to his work in Clint Eastwood's "Invictus" and "Hereafter." And Van Sant has done stellar work from "Hunting" to the great pilot for Kelsey Grammer's "Boss." Now, they reduce themselves to this. And we all know what this is: a preachy left-wing film about how Big Oil is here to take our land and our lives and destroy our everyday lives with fracking. 

The biggest issue with many films with liberal philosophies is they put a point they want to make at the center of their film and attempt to work a story around it. So the characters, story and emotion all fly by the way side in order for the film to bring across its point, however legitimate. "Dirty Harry," above all, was a story first and foremost, and any point derived from the film would be organic to the central characters and their dilemmas. More liberal films simply seem to hide their talking points around the facade of a story. "Promised Land" looks like it will deliver this along with its supposedly anti-capitalist counterpart, "Killing Them Softly."

The trailer suggests a story about Big Oil, fracking and a good man who comes to understand his evil ways. The snippets suggest a flaw found in many other liberal films. It doesn't try to understand the other side. It pities them and their foolish ways, which is exactly how Damon's performance is looking like it's going to come across.

Furthermore, why is Hollywood always so quick to make Big Oil the enemy? How about making a film about the extreme nature of most environmentalist's opinions and rhetoric? Not only do supporters of fracking receive countless death threats, but the organization known as Artists Against Fracking (founded by Sean Lennon and Yoko Ono) have given into the sad use of nasty rhetoric. To the point where Mr. Lennon told a critic who disagreed with him on Twitter: 'You are an argument for abortion. How's that? :-)'

I will close with this. Early in the Republican primaries I attended a Mitt Romney speech followed by a Q and A. A woman in the crowd brought up fracking. Before Romney could finish his first word, the woman was screaming and hollering and calling him names that no one should call another human being for simply disagreeing with them.

The woman would not let up. Though he tried countless times, Romney couldn't get a word in edgewise about his position or to explain what exactly fracking was. The woman had to be removed after a few minutes. The Q and A continued. I never heard a word about fracking except from the side of the argument that chooses to yell and name call. "Promised Land," sadly, doesn't look like it will elevate this conversation beyond this level.


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