Movie Review: Frack to the Future With Matt Damon?

You’ve had a long day and you’re scrolling through Netflix to find a good film to help you unwind. What better than a film about the fun topic of fracking?

Well maybe not, but Damon and Krasinski have done a nice job of covering this hot topic without coming across too “preachy.” Following the release in 2012, the film did stir some controversy as it has been financed by oil giant the United Arab Emirates.

It won’t surprise you the film is a drama rather than a SciFi blockbuster, as fracking is not a very futuristic technology. As the BBC puts it: it is the process of drilling deep down into the earth then directing a high-pressure water mixture at the rock to release the gas that’s inside.

Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock which allows the gas to flow to the head of the well. Environmentalists warn that harmful chemicals escape and contaminate the area around fracking sites, and  there are also concerns that fracking causes earth tremors.

But some claim it may not be the environmental concerns that prompted the United Arab Emirates to sponsor the movie, but rather the Gulf state’s desire to take out US competition to its own oil.

Enter, Matt Damon.

Promised Land

  • Promised Land tells the story of Steve Butler (Matt Damon), a corporate salesman, who arrives in a rural town in Pennsylvania with the intention of getting the local citizens to sign over the rights to drill on their land.
  • With the farming town struggling to survive on agriculture Butler and his colleague (Frances McDormand) assume it will be an easy job and they’ll have the rights signed off in a couple of days.
  • Thanks to a locally respected schoolteacher (Hal Holbrook) and a grassroots environmentalist (John Krasinski) things don’t go quite to plan and Butler is challenged both professionally and personally.

Promised Land has some great scenes where Krasinski’s character really humanises the issues behind fracking and reminds audiences that these problems and conflicts are very real and happening across world.

The film has a really likeable cast, great acting and some beautiful location cinematography. However although the film is entertaining I feel it did fall slightly flat on delivering by the end.

The twist is a clever “didn’t see that one coming” surprise but (without giving too much away) did leave me feeling a bit confused about the general message of the film and sat the writers on the fence.

Maybe I was expecting too much from Damon and Krasinski – this is Hollywood after all – but I guess if you’re going to tackle such a big political and environmental issue you could do it with a bit more bite…

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