“Promised Land” (2012) a Parable About Caring for the Earth

Gus Van Sant’s Promised Land (A-) is a thought-provoking small-town parable about the people we become when wrestling with the dual responsibilities of capitalism and being caretakers of the planet. Instead of taking a scorched-earth approach relying on histrionics or heavy-handed plot devices, co-screenwriter/actors Matt Damon and John Krasinski closely observe characters both native and new to town as folks are faced with the potential riches of natural gas beneath family farms. There are shades of The Graduate here as the film passes generational torches. Filled with smart dialogue, fully realized performances and idyllic imagery, it’s a reminder that films can teach without being preachy.