Opera House Cinema Series to screen ‘Promised Land’

“Promised Land,” Gus Van Sant’s fictional film on fracking starring Matt Damon, is the next featured film in the Fredonia Opera House Cinema Series. It will be screened on Saturday and Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

In “Promised Land,” Damon stars as Steve Butler, a corporate salesman whose journey from farm boy to big-time player takes an unexpected detour when he lands in a small town, where he grapples with a surprising array of both open hearts and closed doors. Van Sant helms the film from an original screenplay written by John Krasinski & Damon, from a story by Dave Eggers.

Butler has been dispatched to the rural town of McKinley with his sales partner, Sue Thomason (Academy Award winner Frances McDormand). The town has been hit hard by the economic decline of recent years, and the two consummate sales executives see McKinley’s citizens as likely to accept their company’s offer – for drilling rights to their properties – as much-needed relief. What seems like an easy job and a short stay for the duo becomes complicated – professionally by calls for community-wide consideration of the offer by respected schoolteacher Frank Yates (Academy Award nominee Hal Holbrook) and personally by Butler’s encounter with Alice (Rosemarie DeWitt). When Dustin Noble (John Krasinski), a slick environmental activist, arrives, suddenly the stakes, both personal and professional, rise to the boiling point.

Richard Roeper calls the film “a solid tale of a classic moral conflict.”

Lisa Kennedy, in the Denver Post, calls it “a well-wrought drama that feels genuine as it goes about spinning a tale worthy of our challenging times.”

Peter Travers, in Rolling Stone, says “‘Promised Land’ is a potent and powerful look at how the economy is stressing farm communities across America. Director Gus Van Sant finds the human side of a knotty issue.”

Rated R for language, “Promised Land” runs 106 minutes.

The Opera House Cinema Series is sponsored by Lake Shore Savings Bank. Tickets are available at the door for $7 (adults), $6.50 (seniors & Opera House members) and $5 (students) the night of each screening. A book of ten movie passes is available for $60 at the door or online at www.fredopera.org. For more information, call the Opera House Box Office at 679-1891. The Series continues with the tsunami survival film “The Impossible,” starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, on Feb. 16 & 19; “Les Miserables,” starring Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway on Feb. 23 & 26; and “Hyde Park on the Hudson,” starring Bill Murray and Laura Linney, on March 16 & 19.

Chautauqua County’s only performing arts center presenting its own programming year-round, the 1891 Fredonia Opera House is a member-supported not-for-profit organization located in Village Hall in downtown Fredonia. For a complete schedule of events, visit www.fredopera.org.