Well, it seems that the Fracking debate has finally reached everywhere in America….including Hollywood. On December 5th, Matt Damon and his co-stars were in New York City for the premier of their newest drama, Promised Land – and yes, it’s a movie about fracking.
The movie, which was co-written by Damon and Krasinski, features Damon as a salesman from fictional Global Oil whose job involves convincing small-town residents to sign mineral leases to the oil company. Damon’s character has a small-town, rural background himself, and is both uniquely sympathetic to the communities he approaches as well as uniquely able to convince them to agree to natural gas extraction. The movie seeks to weigh the economic benefits of a fracking boom against downsides: specially, with the contamination of groundwater comes inevitable loss of the agricultural way of life, as crops and livestock suffer when water becomes poisoned.
The movie is not without controversy – several representatives of the petroleum industry have claimed that the portrayal of fracking in the film is misleading and unfair, and noted that Damon himself has participated in anti-fracking campaigns before. It’s hard to comment, without having seen the film, but Damon, Krasinski, and director Gus Van Sant certainly took on a hefty topic. While I would guess the movie doesn’t address much in the way of science, the medium of a feature-length film certainly allows for exploration of some of the gray area in the fracking debate. We all need energy; we all want a strong economy; we all want available, immediate sources of domestic energy. But that doesn’t mean we go ahead without weighing the costs of our actions either. I’ll be interested to see how Damon and his team handle that conversation on screen.
The film is set for limited release on December 28th.