Promised Land

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Here’s what I mean by the “rigging” in the third act—and if you’re the sort who reads this via RSS feed, you’ll want to tune out now. In the days just before the townspeople are scheduled to vote on whether to allow Damon and McDormand’s company to drill in the area, Damon gets a damning piece of evidence in the mail, showing that a photo Krasinski used of dead cows on a farm was not taken in the location he claimed. (The background shows not a silo, but a lighthouse.) But just as Krasinski is about to slink out of town for good, presumably despondent over a lie that’s totally undermined his cause and given the vote over to the gas company, he lets slip that he’s actually working for the company, too. His entire performance was mere prelude to this deliberate screw-up, a way of guaranteeing the leases on the chance that Damon and McDormand can’t close the deal. It’s a very well-guarded twist—there’s actually a scene earlier where Damon says he doesn’t recognize the name of Krasinski’s organization, so it doesn’t entirely come out of the blue, either—but the plot machinations so closely resemble the corporate machinations that the film seems guilty of the same underhandedness.

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