La Promesse (The Promise) (1996)

La Promesse (The Promise)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

A young man born into criminal circumstances is forced to deal with his conscience in this drama from Belgium. Roger (Olivier Gourmet) is a corrupt businessman who smuggles illegal aliens into Antwerp and protects them from the law in exchange for working with his construction company. However, Roger pays meager wages for back-breaking labor and charges aliens appallingly high rent for substandard housing. Roger has a 15-year-old son, Igor (Jeremie Renier), who has learned from his father to … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Art House & International, Drama
Directed By: ,
Written By: Luc Dardenne, Jean-Pierre Dardenne
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 6, 2002
Criterion Collection


as Garage Owner

as Seydou

as The Fortune-teller

as Immigrant Interprete...

as Yugoslav Immigrant

as Yugoslav Immigrant

as Yugoslav Immigrant

as Yugoslav Immigrant

as Kurdish Immigrant

as Young Arab

as Ibrahim

as Nicolai

as African Immigrant

as Rumanian Immigrant

as Rumanian Immigrant

as Rumanian Immigrant

as Rumanian Immigrant

as Work Inspector

as Mehmet's Brother

as Garage Customer

as Asian Immigrant

as Policewoman

as Hospital Employee

as Pedestrian

as Train Station Employ...

as Night Shop Salespers...

as Luna Park Cashier

as Young Unemployed Man

as Young Arab's Client

as Sikh Immigrant

as Hospital Nurse

as Hospital Doctor

as Policeman
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for La Promesse (The Promise)

Friend Ratings

No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.


Critic Reviews for La Promesse (The Promise)

All Critics (27) | Top Critics (10)

The film is entirely within the caught-on-the-run tradition of cinema verite, which makes it all the grittier and its conclusion all the more wrenching.

February 21, 2001
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

The conflicts involved are intense and absorbing, proving that compelling moral dilemmas make for the most dramatic cinema.

Full Review… | February 21, 2001
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Ranks with the great European art-house classics about childhood betrayed and innocence lost.

February 21, 2001
Top Critic

The Dardenne brothers, as shown by their empathic casting, their very choice of theme, have confessed to a burden. They believe in hope.

February 21, 2001
The New Republic
Top Critic

Speaks volumes about how we treat other human beings and what it means to truly grow up.

Full Review… | February 21, 2001
Top Critic

Almost everyone should be able to identify with the wrenching moral quandary facing Igor.

Full Review… | February 21, 2001
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for La Promesse (The Promise)


[font=Century Gothic]"La Promesse" is about Roger(Olivier Gourmet) who runs a thriving business smuggling, housing and exploiting illegal aliens in Belgium with his son, Igor(Jeremie Renier). Igor works as an apprentice to a mechanic(he pockets a woman's wallet while working there) and in his spare time makes his own personal go-cart. One of the latest arrivals is Assita(Assita Ouedraogo) from Burkina Faso who is a young mother and married to one of the tenants, Amidou(Rasmane Ouedraogo). During a raid by labor inspectors, Amidou falls from scaffolding and is gravely wounded. He has Igor promise to take care of his wife and child. Amidou dies after Roger refuses to take him to a hospital. Father and son conspire to cover up the death.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"La Promesse" takes a neo-realist approach in telling this story. Since the movie is told mostly from Igor's point of view, this does limit its depth. It is still a good dramatic movie but it lacks the emotional resonance to make it truly memorable. And it is interesting to imagine what Igor would be like without such a rotten role model like Roger...[/font]

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Wow! Another great film from the Dardenne. I truly believe that they are incapable of making anything less than a gripping tale.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

A grim but hopeful film that shows us the birth of a consciousness.

Robert Fearon

Super Reviewer

La Promesse (The Promise) Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss La Promesse (The Promise) on our Movie forum!