New York Times
Uncharacteristically “Promised Land” will be the only film that Mr. Damon appears in this year. And that, he said, is a point of pride. “It’s a different feeling to work this in depth with a movie. Usually we show up, and we’re the mercenaries.”
His longtime friend Ben Affleck noted that it was neither easy nor politically simple for an actor of Mr. Damon’s stature to take a year off to work on his own project. “His career is full of the most extraordinary opportunities that an actor could ever dream of. So naturally the instinct isn’t to just turn away from that and say, ‘Let me sit at home staring at a blank page for six months.’"
On “Promised Land” Mr. Damon and Mr. Krasinski did everything from recruiting the cast, which also includes Rosemarie DeWitt, Hal Holbrook and Frances McDormand, to scouting locations. That involvement provided “a much richer and deeper feeling of ownership,” Mr. Damon said.
Damon, stocky in rumpled jeans and a plaid shirt, beams when the subject of his wife, Lucy, and their four daughters comes up. When Krasinski says, “He’s got the best girls in the world,” Damon doesn’t feign modesty.
“It is high praise,” Damon said. “It’s also true.”
There are however, lots of movies. Damon has three in the can, including “Behind the Candelabra,” in which he plays the gay lover of Michael Douglas’s Liberace, complete with kissing and nudity. Next up, he said, is “The Monuments Men,” a thriller about retrieving stolen art from Nazi Germany that his pal George Clooney is directing and starring in, along with Daniel Craig, Bill Murray, and Cate Blanchett.
Once that’s done, would they write together again? “If he’d have me,” Damon said, smirking only slightly. Said Krasinski, with no smirk at all, “I was going to say the same thing... It seems like an almost sure-fire bet to have a good time again.”
Aaron Sorkin, who had an adapted screenplay nomination last year for co-writing Moneyball and won in the category for The Social Network, wrote us on behalf of Promised Land, a drama about a rural town that is considering selling its natural gas rights, though there may be an unseen risk to the reward.
Sorkin: Somewhere along the line, someone in the next few weeks is going to tell you that Promised Land, a perfect film from Matt Damon, John Krasinski and Gus Van Sant, is about fracking. They won’t be entirely wrong, but Promised Land is only about fracking if Jaws is about fishing.
Yes, you’ll know more about how we drill for natural gas than you did before you went into the theater but no one should stay away out of fear the movie is going to ask you to eat your vegetables.
In fact, Promised Land, which was just named one of the 10 best films of the year by the National Board of Review, is so deft in its storytelling that it also manages to dramatize one of the more compelling ANTI-environmental messages you’re likely to see.
Forget you just read the words “environment” and “message” — you’ll be completely taken in by the con game, the humor, the stakes, the absence of easy answers and the typically detailed, subtle and charismatic performances of Damon, Krasinski, Frances McDormand, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Hal Holbrook.
So when someone tells you Promised Land is about fracking, pretend they said whatever your favorite film genre is and trust that the director of Good Will Hunting, To Die For, and Milk is never, for a frame, going to stop telling you a good story so he can slip you some spinach.