Tuesday 30 April 2013


Matt Damon and Gus van Sant working together again in this rather underwhelming feature about representatives (Damon and Frances McDormand) of a natural gas company attempting to convince the residents of a small town of the benefits which allowing fracking on their land will bring them. Their attempts are stymied by an 'environmentalist' played by the not-bad-looking John Krasinski who, along with Damon himself, is the screenplay's co-writer.

The film does have its moments but they are sparse - including one major 'surprise' in the denouement which, untypically for me, I did see coming about five minutes before it was revealed.
In spite of the big, open spaces portrayed and the huge industry involved it's a small scale drama. Its green 'credentials' were, I thought, subsumed by an onrush of sentiment towards the end, Damon playing his anguish up to the hilt. Performances generally were satisfactory, in my opinion - though, apart from the concluding minutes, there's virtually no  scope for deep emotions and grand gesturing.
Incidentally, Frances Mc Dormand, whom I love to see in any film, looking painfully thin here, so much so that I've looked on the web to see if there's any mention of her having some ailing condition, but can't see anything.

A satisfactory film, then, if only just. While waiting for Gus v. S. to pull a memorable production out of the hat, I award this film a modest ...........................5


  1. Frontrow seemed to be so soba out it too Ray.
    I watched a short film called SPOKANE last night
    I would recommend it to you... It was made in 2004
    And can be viewed on line ( just google it it's on Vimeo)
    I would be interested in your review

    1. J.G., on such an emotive issue, and despite the passions portrayed on screen, the film seemed such a subdued affair, as though keen to show a 'distance'.

      I've looked up the 'Vimeo' site (which I'd never even heard of until now) but wasn't able to track down a film called simply 'Spokane'. I'll try again later and post a reaction here.

    2. See


      I think your description of it was spot on..... Good performance by Bornheimer the other chap....not so good

    3. Thanks, J.G. The link works but on this decrepit old computer of mine it's taking an eternity just to start playing - and I fear that when it does it may well freeze-frame every so often. But I'll give it another try later.

  2. I didn't have any plans on seeing this when it was first released. But now that you bring up Matt, I am so tempted to watch this on Movies On Demand. Maybe, it's because I am so eager to see "Candelabra" (only 27 days to go) and I'll take Matt in anything.

    1. You may think more highly of this film than I did, Paul, because of your evident admiration of M.D., which I don't really share, though recently I have begun to recognise him as a 'good' actor, when earlier I'd thought him unimpressive and even wooden. But if you do see it, do let me know.

      I too am very much looking forward to the Liberace. As far as I know no decision's been made here yet as to whether to give it a theatrical release (which I'm desperately hoping for) or let it go straight to T.V., where I could well miss it, at least first time round. Whichever it is, I'm keep to know your thoughts as soon as you've viewed it.