Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Promised Land

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Promised Land

Article excerpt

PROMISED LAND

Directed by Gus Van Sant (Focus Features, 2013)

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The film Promised Land asks the question: Who is the bad guy? Is it the big, greedy company that wants to destroy traditional farming life in pursuit of natural gas? Or is it the environmental movement that would have Pennsylvania farmers and landowners turn down money they desperately need?

It is a credit to the film's writers (Matt Damon, John Krasinski, and Dave Eggers) and the nuanced performances of the talented actors (Damon and Krasinski are joined by Frances McDormand and Hal Holbrook) that the issue of hydraulic fracturing, more commonly known as fracking, is given the complicated treatment it deserves. It is true that fracking-blasting millions of gallons of water, sand, and chemicals into rock in order to extract natural gas far below the surface--has the potential to limit our dependence on coal and oil. But water pollution, earthquakes, and contamination of soil and air are among the drawbacks. …

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