Matt HealeySunday,6 January 2013

The Snap:

I just went to see Promised Land, the new movie from Matt Damon that follows a representative (Matt Damon) from a natural gas company as he tries to secure natural gas drilling rights in a small midwestern town.

The Download:

Overall I liked the movie and would recommend it, but I understand why it is not getting a very high score on Rotten Tomatoes. This is not a film for everyone. Matt Damon did a good job of portraying Steve Butler, the natural gas company’s sales leader, and Hal Holbrook was serviceable as the town’s science teacher. Frances McDormand was also good as Sue Thomason, Matt Damon’s sales partner, although her character was a bit thin and one-dimensional. I also thought that the movie was not overly political. This type of movie could easily have been a much more of a political film than it was. Basically, this did not turn into a one-sided Michael Moore film that uses deceptive tactics to mislead the audience. The natural gas industry is upset about the movie, but I am not sure its collective reaction is justified. After all, the movie is fiction and claims to be — rather than claiming to be a documentary (when it really is fiction). Like so many of Moore’s films are.

Aside from the politics, which I do not think are overdone, I did have one complaint with the film. It was the ending. I will not go into details to avoid the spoilers. My basic complaint was the movie was approx 5-7 minutes too long. It should have ended before it did. There is a big climactic scene at the end where Matt Damon has to give a presentation. I think the film should have ended with him walking up to the mic. Do not show the speech or any of the after effects. I think it would have been a better ending to not know the final outcome. This is similar to my complaint over The Shawshank Redemption. That movie also went on for 5 minutes too long. It should have ended with Morgan Freeman looking out of the bus window on his way to Fort Hancock, Texas. I thought that the Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman reunion at the end was unnecessary and detracted from the movie, in the same way I felt that the ending of this movie was unnecessary and detracted from it.

Hat Tips:

Promised LandNatural Gas Industry reactionShawshank Redemption, Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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