“I'm not a bad guy.” Matt Damon's character Steve Butler says this enough times in Gus Van Sant's new film 'Promised Land' that he probably believes it. He also says it enough for us in the audience to know that, whether knowingly or not, he's clearly the bad guy.
He is a representative of a natural gas company, one about to get a big promotion, because he seems to have the knack for getting cash-strapped rural landowners to sign over drilling rights. He claims it is because he's from a small town himself and understands what economic hardships can do to a person. We'll soon learn that it also due to his remarkable ability to see only what he wants to see.