The LA Times:
"Promised Land" certainly sounds promising. It's got a strong cast and an intriguing premise that has the added bonus of real-world relevance. But, good intentions and good work aside, the film flounders before it reaches its conclusion.
The film, which stars Matt Damon and John Krasinski, who co-wrote the script (from a story by Dave Eggers), ends up too gimmicky for its evident earnestness. Smoothly directed by Gus Van Sant, it wants to both entertain and enlighten, but that combination eludes it.
The tale of what transpires in a small town when a large corporation attempts to purchase control of a previously untapped natural resource, "Promised Land" was originally conceived of with a focus on the wind energy boom. But when that idea didn't pan out, attention was shifted to what has become the hot-button ecological issue of the moment, the tumultuous practice of using hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to extract underground natural gas.