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Wed May 22, 2013, 05:45 PM

Promised Land [View all]

On Sunday, my good friend “Bluenorthwest” sent me an e-mail, to say that he had watched the movie “Promised Land.” As it is about hydrofracking, he thought of me, and wrote to say that it had come out on DVD. After we communicated a bit through a series of Democratic Underground e-mails, I drove to the nearest store that sells movies. I was happy to purchase their last copy.

For anyone who may not be familiar with “Promised Land,” it stars Matt Damon and Frances McDormand as agents for an energy corporation. They are sent to a small town that is like thousands of the little communities that the gas industry targets for exploitation. Factory jobs have been exported; family farms have difficulty competing in the current economic realities, and the promise of big money is very enticing to two groups of people: those who are going broke, and those who are greedy by nature.

The agents of the gas industry are trained to appeal to people’s fears and greed: your town will die without fracking; you could easily be sitting on a fortune here. They also peddle para-patriotism: help the US become energy independent; drill a well, and bring a soldier home. The film delivers a very good character study in those areas.

More, I think Matt Damon is a talented young actor, and I have long admired Frances McDormand as an extremely capable artist.

Perhaps the most interesting and important point made in the movie is how the gas industry exercises control over the internal and external dynamics of small town governments. This, as every experienced social activist/ community organizer here knows, includes infiltrating their opposition -- those pesky environmentalists. Change it to an anti-war or civil rights group, and the exact same thing holds true.

The movie is top-notch, in my opinion. I strongly recommend it to those interested in issues involving the environment. Even if the environment isn’t your primary focus in social-political issues, it’s still definitely worth watching.

Finally, I’m interested in hearing the opinions of others here, who have watched the film.

H2O Man

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