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Blu-ray Reviewer
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )



Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

Studio and Year: Universal - 2012
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 107 minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Matt Damon, John Krasinski, Frances McDormand, Hal Holbrook, Rosemarie DeWitt
Directed by: Gus Van Sant
Music by: Danny Elfman
Written by: John Krasinski & Matt Damon
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: April 23, 2013
"What’s your price?"

Film Synopsis:

Matt Damon stars in Promised Land, based on an original screenplay by John Krasinski and Damon and directed by Gus Van Sant (Milk, Good Will Hunting). Corporate salesman Steve Butler (Damon) has been dispatched to the rural town of McKinley with his sales partner (Frances McDormand) to offer much-needed relief to the economically hard-hit residents in exchange for drilling rights to their properties. What seems like an easy job for the duo quickly becomes complicated by a respected schoolteacher (Hal Holbrook), a slick environmental activist (Krasinski), and Steve's interest in a local woman (Rosemarie DeWitt). As they grapple with a surprising array of both open hearts and closed doors, the outsiders soon discover the strength of an American small town at a crossroads.

My Take:

Corporate salesman Steve Butler (Damon) works for a 9 billion dollar natural gas company that moves from small town to small town buying leases from residents for drilling rights. Coming from a small town background where the closing of a large factory hit home financially Steve is dedicated to his job and along with his partner Sue has achieved a high turn over rating. In line for a promotion Steve is dispatched along with Sue to McKinley a quaint rural town having been hit hard by the economic decline of recent years. Quickly sizing things up they see the local citizens as likely to accept their company's offer, for drilling rights to their properties, as much-needed relief.

What seemed like a simple two or three day job quickly descends into finger pointing, mistrust, and a town vote that could easily go either way leaving Steve to answer tough questions from his employer. Matters are further complicated by a grassroots campaign led by environmentalist Dustin, who counters Steve both personally and professionally. As tensions build, pertinent questions surface and Steve begins to lose focus and ponders just what exactly IS in the best interest of not only McKinley but himself as well…

Promised land is a contemporary drama penned by co-stars Matt Damon and John Krasinski and reunites Damon with “Good Will Hunting” director Gus Van Sant. This is a morality tale built around typical characterizations and a fairly conventional plot. It’s thought provoking theme about anti-fracking and unscrupulous corporate greed isn’t overtly preachy per se but seems to want to make more of a statement than it does. Instead it diverges with a half baked romantic subplot and a nonsensical plot twist that derails dramatic momentum. Luckily it raises interesting and relatable questions about people and today’s challenging times. Matt Damon gives a strong performance and is aptly supported by the likes of Frances McDormand, Hal Holbrook and the always likeable John Krasinski.

I found Promised land to be an appealing film but from a limited perspective rather than as a whole which ultimately left me wanting. It clearly wants to be more but comes up a bit short in delivering a thoroughly compelling drama that combines the subject with characters you genuinely care about.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for language.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 80

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics:

  • Low frequency extension:

  • Surround Sound presentation:

  • Clarity/Detail:

  • Dialogue Reproduction:

Video: 86

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity:

  • Black level/Shadow detail:

  • Color reproduction:

  • Fleshtones:

  • Compression:

Promised Land comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Studios Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 33 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.7 Mbps.

This is a solid high definition video presentation that delivers quality which is on par with a newer release film coming to Blu-ray. Colors appear natural with pleasing depth and an intentionally subdued palette. Complexions are realistically depicted with defining texture, and good tonal separation. Blacks are respectable but don’t offer the depth and delineation that make them stand out. Detail in low light and dark backgrounds is estimable. Images offer good dimensional depth, stable sharpness, and clarity but exhibit opulent high level detail and glossy video quality. This appears to look exactly as intended which when all is said and done is fine.

The lossless audio presentation is solid and renders the soundtrack with aplomb. Dialogue is clearly rendered through the center channel and the recordings various elements are reproduced with appreciable refinement and appropriate depth. Aural perspective is one dimensional with emphasis on the front channels however venue replicating effects and diffuse ambience is fed to the rear channels which provide a limited but effective sense of envelopment.

Bonus Features:

  • (HD) Extended scene

  • (HD) The making of Promised Land – 10 minute featurette

  • My Scenes bookmark feature

  • Bonus DVD

  • Digital Copy

  • Ultraviolet Digital Copy

Final Thoughts:

Promised land is a contemporary drama penned by co-stars Matt Damon and John Krasinski and reunites Damon with “Good Will Hunting” director Gus Van Sant. It’s thought provoking theme about anti-fracking and unscrupulous corporate greed is fine however it fails to deliver a thoroughly compelling story which ultimately left me unfulfilled. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Studios Home Entertainment featuring gratifying high definition video, crystal clear lossless sound and a sub par supplemental package that consists of an extended scene and brief behind the scenes documentary. Depending on your interest in the cast and subject matter this may or may not be checking out. My advice would be to begin with a rental.

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

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JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector

(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal )

Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen

Marantz AV8801 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor

Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier

B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier

Oppo BDP-103 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control

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Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers

SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)

APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector

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Blu-ray Reviewer
15,760 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Originally Posted by yadfgp  /t/1468813/promised-land-blu-ray-official-avsforum-review/0_20#post_23220527

What the hell?!?!

This was written by John Krasinski & Matt Damon?!?!

That sounds crazy.


Maybe but don't forget that many initially felt that way upon learning that Matt Damon and Ben Affleck wrote Good Will Hunting. Of course this film doesn't measure up...


2,304 Posts
To me it just sounds like a weird pairing is all.

Matt writing screenplays makes sense and I was aware of, but then when you throw in the fact that he co wrote this with John... Just kinda makes ya wonder how the 2 paired up like that. And that John actually did more than act also is a bit of a head scratcher.
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