The first trailer for director Gus Van Sant’s Promised Land has been released. Matt Damon and John Krasinski wrote the script and star in the film, which was originally set to mark Damon’s directorial debut before scheduling issues forced him to call in his Good Will Hunting buddy Van Sant to step in. Damon and Frances McDormand play corporate salesmen who try to prey on an economic town in decline only to have their mission complicated by the citizens they encounter. The pic has been a big question mark in the Awards race, and things aren’t much clearer after seeing this trailer. There’s definitely potential for a heartwarming and relevant story to be told, but it also looks like the fracking argument—though valid—could come across as too preachy. The character-centric story is definitely appealing, and given Damon’s ridiculous talent and the crazy-good ensemble cast, I’m inclined to believe that the full film will deliver the goods.
Hit the jump to watch the trailer. The film also stars Rosemarie DeWitt, Hal Holbrook, Scoot McNairy, and Titus Welliver. Promised Land opens in limited release on December 28th before expanding in January.
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Here’s the synopsis for Promised Land:
Mr. Damon plays Steve Butler, a corporate salesman who arrives in a rural town with his sales partner, Sue Thomason (Ms. McDormand). With the town having been hit hard by the economic decline of recent years, the two outsiders see the local citizens as likely to accept their company’s offer, for drilling rights to their properties, as much-needed relief. What seems like an easy job for the duo becomes complicated by the objection of a respected schoolteacher (Mr. Holbrook) with support from a grassroots campaign led by another man (Mr. Krasinski) who counters Steve both personally and professionally.