ReviewWriter: Lorraine TanWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects:
NACinematography: Watch this if you liked:
“Gasland”, “Earth Days” and “The Big Fix”
Taking the audiences to the small, rural town of Pennsylvania, this is a heart-felt drama about how two salespersons, Steve Butler (Matt Damon) and Sue Thomason (Frances McDormand), try to persuade the families of a financially-struggling farming town to sign mineral rights leases that grant drilling rights to his employer, Global Crosspower Solutions, and in turn, giving them cash as compensation. The duo then run into difficult situations and unexpected twists as they desperately try to win over the town.
Written and produced by both the lead actors themselves, Damon ("True Grit", "Ocean's Thirteen") and John Krasinski ("The Office") who playes Dustin Noble, the story is based on an original story by Dave Eggers. Damon, who co-wrote during filming of "We Brought A Zoo", was supposed to make his directorial debut with this film but could not commit due to scheduling conflicts and eventually Gus Van Sant took over the role.
Damon and Krasinski's characters displayed raw emotions every time they shared the screen, usually with heated arguments about their opposing views. Their chemistry together was well-played and depicted the core essence of their characters.
McDormand ("Almost Famous", " Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted") plays a strong, independent woman with views of her own. There were a few timely humorous moments between Steve and Sue, which was the only watchable aspect about the otherwise dull duo, whose lines are equally monotonous.
The film is fantastically shot, capturing the beautiful landscape of the town, rustic barn houses and lush greenery, and in turn, portraying the serenity and slow-paced life of the suburban town. The well-written soundtrack by the indie-folk duo band "The Milk Carton Kids" is soothing and calming, consisting mainly of vocal harmonies and subtle guitar notes, bringing out the country feeling and setting the film's gentle-tone.
However, the film has almost no climax, which might lead some to find it a tad boring and lose interest after a while into the film. Those who are into agriculture or environmental issues or are just simply curious to know more about modern farming, might enjoy this film. The issues that the film tackles are very real, with ongoing debates, such as "fracking", which means resource extraction process hydraulic fracturing, even before the release of "Promised Land".
With little or no relevance to Singapore and Malaysia context, only watch this film when you have extra time to kill.Cinema Online, 19 March 2013