Promised Land and Broken Promises

Posted: October 25, 2013 by jperritt in Drama
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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[Warning: This post contains spoilers]

Promised Land tells the story of a multi-billion dollar organization named, Global, and their attempts to tap into natural resources in a local small town. Steve Butler [Matt Damon] and Sue Thomason [Frances McDormand] are the two Global execs sent in to lovingly sucker the people into signing off their land. Things are going smooth for Global until Dustin Nobel [John Krasinksi], an environmentalist working for Athena, steps in and begins to sway the townspeople. Dustin is also a small-town guy with a personal story of Global’s destruction to his farmland.

Promised Land reunited Matt Damon with Director Gus Van Sant, who directed Good Will Hunting. It also gave Damon and Krasinski the opportunity to co-write the screenplay together. PL wasn’t as straight-forward as I thought it would be. Yes, it may be fairly predictable at points, but there was a bit of a twist. As Dustin and Steve continue to fight-it-out among the townspeople, it becomes clear that Dustin has falsified his story – losing credibility among the townspeople.

In Steve’s final confrontation with Dustin, he’s puzzled as to why Dustin would create this false story. Steve in essence says, “We’re a $9 billion dollar company. You know we would have found that information out.” Through their interaction, however, Dustin slips up and discloses some information he didn’t intend. This reveals the fact that Dustin is actually working for Global, but was posing as an environmentalist with a false company. This is not only a shocking discovery to Steve, but a humbling one as Dustin basically tells Steve, “You think we’d let you do this on your own? We let you do exactly what we wanted you to do. You were in control of nothing. You’re at the big boys table now. You did a good job, though.”

Global had been watching Steve the entire time. Steve thought he was a big-shot, he thought he was in control, and he thought he was moving up the Global ladder. But, Dustin just revealed to Steve that there’s an entire level of Global he wasn’t aware of. In essence, Steve was just a little child – a puppet – in the hands of Global.

Well, Global did control a lot, but they couldn’t control Steve from speaking the truth to the townspeople. He confessed to all the lies and did the nobel thing Dustin “Nobel’s” character was pretending to do.

This did get me thinking about control. How much of our lives do we really control? We can make plans, come up with a schedule, but how often do things go the way we plan them? Steve thought he was in control, but it was someone else controlling him. Global, however, thought they were in control, but couldn’t control the convictions of Steve.

Dustin’s line did make me think of our sovereign God and how he controls all things. While we are not puppets, or robots, walking around the earth, we can ultimately only do what He allows us to do. He is, in fact, ordaining all things that come to pass. He is working through all of the evil we commit. Just as Dustin and Steve were spreading lies and cheating people, God works through the every day lies of individuals and ultimately brings truth in the end. He is the one who’s in control. He is the one exercising His common grace in the lives of wicked people. And, He is the one who will bring the light of the Truth to bear in the end – the consummation of the true Promised Land.

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