Steve Butler appears to be on track for a brilliant career. At least that is what his cool bosses in their classy New York offices are promising. But if truth be told, he is expected to achieve the impossible: he and his colleague Sue must persuade the inhabitants of a typical American small town to sell the right to extract natural gas from underneath their farmlands to a large energy firm. A new method known as ‘fracking’ - in which fractures are created in subterranean shale - will allow extraction of formerly inaccessible gas reserves. Butler persuades the locals to give up their long since unprofitable farms, promising them fabulous purchase prices. He neglects to mention the risks of the method which involves the uncontrolled hydraulic injection of dangerous chemicals into the ground. But then he encounters resistance from the locals; in addition, a travelling environmental activist calls the entire project into question. Steve, a country boy himself who is all too aware of the truth, has to decide whose side he is on. Is he the agent of the energy corporation's profiteering or will he return to his roots? A political thriller about a contemporary ecological conflict.
by Gus Van Sant
with Matt Damon, John Krasinski, Frances McDormand, Rosemarie DeWitt, Hal Holbrook