Matt Damon’s newest film casts him as an earnest natural gas company official hoping to get a small, Midwestern town to agree to have its lands “fracked,” (i.e., drilled), arguing it will make it rich.
His nemesis is an environmental activist played by John Krasinski. This charismatic, Bruce Springsteen-singing liberal appears to be winning the townspeople’s hearts with a story about how fracking ruined his family’s farm. He is subsequently discredited when Damon discovers the story isn’t true.
The further twist is that the activist secretly works for the same company as Damon. He was a phony — an agent provocateur sent by them to discredit the environmentalist case.
It is the kind of plot twist that starts falling apart the moment you start thinking about it, especially since Damon’s character isn’t in on the scam. What if Damon had flubbed the effort to discredit the activist? What if someone else discovered the fraud was working for the gas company? In the real world, it only would have taken one call to a major environmental group to find out that the group the activist supposedly represents doesn’t exist.
Then there’s the fact that the film undermines the very environmental message it is supposedly trying to send. Virtually all of the information in the film about how fracking is supposedly dangerous comes from the fake activist — which obviously puts it all in question.