When big oil arrives in a small country town, everyone listens. And when they look like Matt Damon, all the girls swoon. Well…okay…maybe that’s not exactly where this movie goes but it has to be said that having Damon play Steve Butler, a natural gas company salesman, is a pretty good choice if you want ANYONE to see this film in the theater. Because let’s face it…the idea of shelving out $10 to watch a movie about fracking isn’t what I would consider to be a fun night out. But you know what…this movie ain’t bad! And Damon is mostly the reason why.
Steve and his sales partner, Sue (McDormand), are looking to find places for their oil company to drill. They are sent to a small farming community where they go door-to-door, chatting up the townsfolk and getting them to sign on the dotted line. Of course, in the process, a local science teacher (Holbrook) questions the process that the oil company uses (called fracking) and the townspeople slowly turn against Steve and his company. Steve then begins to doubt his cause and must choose between moving up in the company or doing the right thing.
Overall the cast here is top notch. Francis McDormand plays Butler’s trusty co-worker and she’s excellent as always. And John Krasinski makes a star turn as the tree hugger environmentalist who shows up in the town to face off against the big bad giant conglomerate. But really…this IS Damon’s movie and despite the fact that he has played this type of character before (“We Bought A Zoo,” “Hereafter”), I couldn’t help but root for the guy, especially when I knew that eventually he’d come to his senses and pull a 180. A loud applause for Krasinski as the writer of this little tale and it is nice to see Hal Holbrook in a role that seems tailor-made for him.
This movie has been getting rave reviews and I have to agree with them. This is a quiet film that is not going to rock your world but it WILL make you think. That in itself is a victory for films these days…
Overall Rating: B+