Cinematic Thoughts for Cinematic Minds
2012/ USA, United Arab Emirates
Director: Gus Van Sant
Director Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting, 1997) teams up once again with Matt Damon who stars as Steve Butler a sales representative for Global Solutions with his partner Sue Thomason (Frances McDormand). Their job is to convince a small farming town to allow their company to come and dig for natural gas. It’s money verses principal for many of the townspeople and while the town is being dragged in two separate directions it’s easy to miss who is really pulling the strings.
Steve (Damon) has the highest closing percentage rate at the company, so when he and partner Sue (McDormand) are sent out to do what they do best they expect to be in and out within a few days. Unfortunately Frank Yates (Hal Holbrook) an elderly and wise science school teacher and a slip of the tongue from Steve turns this easy win into a much harder battle.
With the town already starting to divide, environmentalist Dustin (John Krasiniski) mysteriously appears to wedge the gap and get as many people on his side as possible. Whilst Dustin is warmly welcomed into the fold of the town, being charismatic hero they need Steve and Sue are left out in the cold.
This film was no Erin Brockovich, although there was roughly the same amount of bad language there was no emotional attachment to make audience members side with the townspeople or the sales representatives. Sue had a son back home and a love for baseball, Steve on the other hand seemed to have no backstory. It seemed as if he went straight from helping out on his Grandfather’s farm as a boy to a representative for Global Solutions. The big billion dollar company verses a small town located in a flyover state is an interesting enough concept but unfortunately there seemed to be no emotion or real fight in the plot. I found myself more interested in the tiny horses that were mentioned twice in the movie.