Matt Damon scores again as Steve Butler, an energy company salesperson assigned to acquire drilling rights in a small Pennsylvania farming community for the energy extraction process called hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as “Fracking”. He faces opposition from a retired scientist turned farmer played by the venerable Hal Holbrook, and a stranger in town, Dustin Noble, played by TV’s “The Office” star John Krasinski, representing an environmental group. Damon and Krasinski wrote the screenplay based on a story by Dave Eggers and while Damon was to make his directorial debut on the film, he turned the duties over to “Good Will Hunting” director Gus Van Sant. Damon’s character has a believable dual identity as a former farm boy, pessimistic about the chances of small farm success against the big corporations, even as he becomes a pawn in a plan which his large Energy Company executes with little left to chance. There are twists and turns in how we view Damon’s character, as well as the other major players: Francis McDormand as Steve’s sales partner, and Krasinski’s environment proponent. There is a nice performance by Rosemary Dewitt as Steve’s potential love interest. The minor characters all come from the Pittsburgh acting community and give an authentic feel to the proceedings and Van Sant does a nice job at the directorial helm, though I think the ending stretches the film’s credibility.
My GPA: 3.4