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Watch: The American Dream Is In Peril In Trailer For Gus Van Sant's 'Promised Land' Starring Matt Damon

by Kevin Jagernauth
September 21, 2012 3:46 PM
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With all the talk about what "Promised Land" is and isn't about, we'll leave it to co-star Titus Welliver to break it down. "It has great story because it’s really about the issue we face right now with this hydro-fracking. Within that framework is a story about people and how they navigate the idea of making a lot of money when things aren’t exactly how they seem on the surface," he told Hollywood News. "It’s about people going through changes and how they perceive things or what the truths the ideals are that they have, how they change as things unfold. That was an incredible experience." Yep, that's it in a nutshell, and once again the awards season race has shifted with the arrival of the trailer for the film.

Co-written by co-stars Matt Damon and John Krasinski, the latter of whom conceived the idea with Dave Eggers, and directed by Gus Van Sant, it looks like this one is poised to start a lot of conversations about the encroaching arm of corporations on small-town life, the eroding rural farming industry, the cost of scarring the environment versus providing for our future and more. But if anything, what we see so far here isn't, thankfully, preachy.

The story follows Steve Butler (Damon), a corporate salesman who arrives in a rural town with his sales partner, Sue Thomason (Frances McDormand). With the town having been hit hard by economic decline in recent years, the two outsiders see the local citizens as likely to accept their company’s offer for drilling rights to their properties as much-needed relief. What seems like an easy job for the duo becomes complicated by the objection of a respected schoolteacher (Hal Holbrook) with support from a grassroots campaign led by another man (Krasinski) who counters Steve both personally and professionally. The main idea that comes across here is the cost of personal integrity against financial and professional gain.

Anyway, it's certainly a lot to think about. "Promised Land" drops into theaters at the end of the year on December 28th. Watch below.

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  • bettysue | September 21, 2012 10:32 PMReply

    Matt Damon is pure gold.

  • MJ | September 21, 2012 6:26 PMReply

    If this can stay focused on the characters & be less of an issue piece, it could be good, otherwise any chance at strong filmmaking could be buried under the weight of real world baggage. Tell a story set around a real life issue, don't preach or attempt the same kind of advocacy diatribe 'documentaries' attempt. Note I have no problem with blocking fracking, I'm all for protecting the environment, but in this case I'm hoping for drama & artistic integrity. Also it really looks like Focus cut this trailer to play to way too many types of audience at once & the film may suffer from that. Or the film itself suffers the same kind of schizophrenia, who knows yet.

  • judy dencher | September 21, 2012 4:26 PMReply

    I think Hal Holbrook could be up for Oscar attention if it's a good part. And you've certainly got to at least pay attention to the screenplay, with Damon's record. Van Sant for direction? Hard to know until the film actually gets shown. Anybody know when screenings will start?

  • Real | September 21, 2012 4:20 PMReply

    Looks good. Matt Damon is always solid. Possible awards attention for this?

  • Matt N. | September 21, 2012 4:10 PMReply

    Somebody call the WAH-mbulance for all the poor small town folks constantly being duped by big corporations. Matt Damon is so blindingly left-wing that I can't imagine this being anything less than a Michael Moore doc shrouded as a narrative.

  • d | September 21, 2012 6:44 PM

    Your first sentence makes you sound like a giant asshole.

  • judy dencher | September 21, 2012 4:22 PM

    MARK: the first industry shills clocks in at the 24 minute mark. We can expect LOTS more of this.

  • sidsbowl | September 21, 2012 4:00 PMReply

    I trust Damon not to write anything preachy (although the fracking industry will claim it's preachy). He's better than that.

  • AS | September 21, 2012 4:44 PM

    Nope, he's just better than you, Jon. Everyone is better than you.

  • jon | September 21, 2012 4:16 PM

    He's better than all of us. Every single one of us on God's green earth.

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