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Top Customer Reviews
I absolutely loved this film...and so did my Parisian friends to whom I recommended it.
"La Promesse" stars two of the Dardennes' regular actors, Olivier Gourmet and Jeremie Renier. Igor (Renier) is a 15-year-old delinquent who helps his father Roger (Gourmet) exploit African and Eastern European immigrants for profit. When one of their workers dies in an accident, Roger tries to cover it up, but Igor finds himself feeling concern for the dead man's widow and baby. Igor's budding conscience leads him to an agonizing point of no return.
"La Promesse" follows the usual pattern of the Dardennes' films: a plain, starkly realistic setting, shot mostly in claustrophobic closeup, with extreme situations and emotions leading to an ending in which no closure or resolution is possible. The actors could not be better; Gourmet is particularly fine as a despicable monster who has convinced himself he is only doing what he must to support his family. Simple and powerful, "La Promesse" will leave you with a heartache that will last for days.
The heart and soul of the piece is Igor portrayed by a stunning looking fifteen year old Jérémie Rénier (Summer Hours (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]) in an amazing first performance. Every good story needs a great villain and here it supplied by Igor's father Roger in a bravura performance by Olivier Gourmet (Rosetta [Region 2 Import - Non USA Format]). The lying, cheating, brutal Roger exploits everyone near him and even though he loves him, poor Igor is no exception.
The motherless boy has been pulled out of school under the pretense of an apprenticeship so his dad can use him to help run the family business of human trafficking. Absent of any moral teachings or decent role model, Igor is no angel himself:an expert forger of fake identities, purse snatcher, and lying to immigration officers. However, he is still a mechanically inclined 12 year old who snatches a few precious minutes to work on a motorized soap box type car with his friends and paints his dingy teeth with white-out to mimic the dazzling smiles of the Africans whose passports he is altering.Read more ›
In this case it revolves around the brutal treatment of often defenseless undocumented immigrants. A father and son team in the construction business mostly using such immigrants. In one instance a gruesome treatment of one father, and the consequences for his just arrived wife and child from Africa. In spite of his usually unquestioned obedience to his father, the son, feeling bound by a promise he made, revolts at the last moments of the film and leaves us with a sense of hope for the victims, although certainly still uncertain future.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This movie really wasn't that great. Let me just start by saying that there are French films out there that are just sublime. Read morePublished 6 months ago by samspennell
This is a unique project. No one comments about family, class, and immigration like the Dardennes brothers. You learn something new each time you watch it.Published 6 months ago by Mom with Ph.D.
This is miraculous film making, delivering compassion alongside cool, precise observation, sentiment without sentimentality.Published 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
this is a modern-day account of slavery, and the moral awakening of a teenager. Very disturbing.
PS I share the reviewer's horror at the barbarity of animal... Read more
Effective and touching look at immigration and the consequences of driving it underground.Published 17 months ago by Johnny
Really good film from Belgium. A good real slice of life look at the real life of not only immigrants in the 90s from Eastern Europe and Africa but a Father and sons life and the... Read morePublished on March 2, 2014 by A. Smith