An experience that's alternately amusing and frustrating, full of impassioned earnestness and saggy sections. Director Gus Van Sant has the challenge of taking the topic of fracking and trying to make it cinematic. Working from a script by co-stars Matt Damon and John Krasinski, based on a story by Dave Eggers, he succeeds in fits and starts. The impoverished small town that's the tale's setting, a place in need of the kind of economic rejuvenation fracking could provide, is full of folksy folks whose interactions with the main characters don't always ring true. "Promised Land" has its heart is on its sleeve and makes its pro-environment message quite clear, but it's in the looser and more ambiguous places that the film actually works.
Rated R for language.
-- ASSOCIATED PRESS