If the sudden influx of Very Serious Biopics into the public consciousness wasn't proof enough that awards season is here, then the trailer for Promised Land—Matt Damon, John Krasinki, and Gus Van Sant's Dissection of a Very Serious Social Issue—leaves no doubt. The film stars Damon (who co-wrote the script with Krasinski from a story by Dave Eggers) as a misguided natural gas salesman planning to drill the farm town of McKinley dry. His scheme gets derailed when Krasinski starts using his environmentalist wiles to turn the town against him.
In addition to sporting a very clever name, the movie features some very gray, stirring panoramics of rural America, a few shots of flags waving symbolically in the breeze, and a whole lot of talk about the futility of perpetuating the small-town lifestyle. There doesn't seem to be a lot of hope to be had for Jefferson's dream of an agrarian republic. Then again, there is a clip of Hal Holbrook somberly telling Damon, "You're a good man, Steve. I just wish you weren't doing this"—and it takes some serious fracking balls to bet against Hal Holbrook.