La Promesse (The Promise) (1996) - Rotten Tomatoes

La Promesse (The Promise) (1996)

La Promesse (The Promise)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

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 steal and twist the truth; Igor is loyal to Roger, despite his father's frequent violence against him. One day, Amidou (Rasmane Ouedraogo), one of the illegals working for Roger, falls from a construction site; as he is dying, Amidou begs Igor to watch over his wife Assita (Assita Ouedraogo) and their child. While Roger and his partners try to keep the death a secret to avoid police interference, Igor constructs an elaborate web of lies to ease the concerns of Assita, who does not know that her husband has passed. Before long, Igor's loyalties are torn between his concern for his father's safety and his guilty affection for Assita. La Promesse was voted the Best Foreign Language Film of 1997 by America's National Society of Film Critics. ~ Mark Deming, Rovimore
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Art House & International, Drama
Directed By: ,
Written By: Luc Dardenne, Jean-Pierre Dardenne
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 6, 2002
Runtime:
Criterion Collection

Cast

Frédéric Bodson
as Garage Owner
Jose Dumst
as Seydou
Rifi Kythouka
as The Fortune-teller
Ljubomir Jakic
as Immigrant Interprete...
Caslav Jestratijevic
as Yugoslav Immigrant
Darko Pulic
as Yugoslav Immigrant
Zoran Klacar
as Yugoslav Immigrant
Miroslav Dmitrovic
as Yugoslav Immigrant
Thomas Golla
as Kurdish Immigrant
Abdel Bakouche
as Young Arab
Rabah Amrani
as Ibrahim
Ioan Taranu
as Nicolai
Dieudonne Kapeta
as African Immigrant
Florin Badea
as Rumanian Immigrant
Bogdan Motet
as Rumanian Immigrant
Marian Moldovan
as Rumanian Immigrant
Valeriu Massalar
as Rumanian Immigrant
Bernard Marbaix
as Work Inspector
Nevfel Morsimen
as Mehmet's Brother
Jeanine Robiane
as Garage Customer
David Echterhoff
as Asian Immigrant
Suzanne Colin
as Policewoman
Cathy Galetic
as Hospital Employee
Daniel Hicter
as Pedestrian
Jean-Pol Bissieux
as Train Station Employ...
Willy Moosen
as Night Shop Salespers...
Emmanuelle Bonmariag...
as Luna Park Cashier
Philippe Constant
as Young Unemployed Man
Pierre Dineur
as Young Arab's Client
Sandhu Onkar Singh
as Sikh Immigrant
Dominique Hennico
as Hospital Nurse
Henri Wierts
as Hospital Doctor
Léon Michaux
as Policeman
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for La Promesse (The Promise)

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
Film.com
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
ReelViews
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)

½

[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]

Harlequin68
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.

robfearon
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!