Promised Land

Rated 2.0

Two salespeople for a natural-gas conglomerate (Matt Damon, Frances McDormand) descend on a small farm town to sew up the local fracking rights, only to be confronted by an environmental activist (John Krasinski) with horror stories of dying livestock and flaming water supplies. Directed by Gus Van Sant and written by Damon and Krasinski (from a story by Dave Eggers), the movie radiates nostalgia for the agitprop movies of a bygone era; it's like Billy Jack without the karate. Damon and Krasinski provide nice set pieces for themselves that dovetail with their respective screen personae, and McDormand is always welcome, but Van Sant offers only a sluggish pace trying to pass for rural, laid-back sensibility. Hal Holbrook and Rosemarie DeWitt round out the name cast; others slip snugly into the stereotypes they play.