Monday, September 24, 2012

Are You Ready for Promised Land?

If you thought the reaction from Gasland was bad, now comes a major Hollywood release called "Promised Land" starring Matt Damon fictionalizing the impact of the boom of the Marcellus Shale in one particular rural community.  Here is the trailer.

I don't go see movies any more since I have two small kids and it's a hell of a lot cheaper to fall asleep at home than in a movie theater, but I think I know exactly how this movie will play out without seeing it.  I think we all do.  It looks like a strong dose of hyperbole will be thrown in to make the leading man go from a heartless landman to a community advocate out to save the land and a way of life from his $9 billion corporation.

It may be no accident that Matt Damon is starring in a film on this subject (he also co-wrote it).  He is deeply involved with, which has the laudable goal of bringing fresh water to deeply impoverished populations in third world countries.  But I'm sure any threat to water in the United States, real or imagined, is on his mind as well.  More than once in the trailer there is footage of him drinking directly from an outside water well.  Hopefully he won't pull out a lighter, but I'm sure someone in the film will.

Unfortunately, people likely will react more to a Matt Damon movie than a fact-challenged documentary produced by a Brooklyn hipster, although I doubt the audiences will overlap that much.  I doubt you will see any change from the people who already are mobilized against hydraulic fracturing, but for some people this might be the first time they've even heard of it.  Not that this is a battle that will be won in the court of public opinion, but I hope people are able to separate the fiction from, well, the fiction.  If nothing else, maybe the'll forget it all when they get home with an episode of "Jersey Shore," another show ostensibly about water.


Anonymous said...

Looks like a rather weak attempt to make a movie about the issue. The quick glimpse of pictures of dead cows made me smile. How many documented cow deaths can be attributed to shale gas?

Robert Hutchinson said...

Ironically, the only cow kill that I know of occurred in Caddo Parish in spring 2009 after 17 cows drank some frac fluid.