01/25/2013 09:14 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

ReThink Review: Promised Land -- Fracking Goes (More) Hollywood


There's a good chance that people would not have heard of fracking (hydraulic fracturing) if it hadn't been for Josh Fox's 2010 documentary Gasland (my review here), which followed him as he crisscrossed the country to learn more about the potentially dangerous drilling technique an energy company planned to use if Fox signed a lease allowing them to drill on his land. However, awareness is pretty different from sex appeal, and if you aren't a fan of documentaries, Gasland and fracking might've never crossed your radar. Fortunately, Hollywood came to the rescue and lent its star power to the cause, motivated both by environmentalism and the fact that plans to frack a natural gas deposit called the Marcellus Shale could adversely affect the drinking water supplies of New York City and upstate New York, where many celebrities own homes. Yoko Ono and her son, Sean, have organized an anti-fracking collective with the support of artists such as Lady Gaga, Alec Baldwin, the Black Keys, Susan Sarandon and Zooey Deschanel.

Now fracking has received the full Hollywood treatment with Promised Land, a scripted film starring and co-written by Matt Damon, one of Hollywood's biggest and most respected stars. But is Damon's name enough to convince people to see a movie revolving around natural gas drilling? Will people be turned off by the idea of being preached to by an outspoken member of the liberal Hollywood establishment? And if you're curious to learn more about fracking, is Gasland or Promised Land the best film for you? Watch my ReThink Review of Promised Land below.

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