La Promesse (The Promise) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

La Promesse (The Promise) Reviews

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February 3, 2019
It looks like there is no enough magic powder on this planet to protect us from all the evil around, although sometimes a promise, can do way more. Another thing I cannot have enough apparently is the naturalism / realism of the Dardennes brothers. This is the third film I am watching and the third I liked. Not many left, but there is no stopping me now!
July 8, 2017
A compassionate and honest work of art about the hard adolescent realization that your parents are simply flawed (sometimes outright immoral) people like everyone else. Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne did an impeccable job. This is a film brimming with empathy and humanity.
May 18, 2017
This is a kind of a serious movie exposing the rotten white society that should feel guilt towards poor and honest illegal immigrants from the glorious lands of Africa. "All white people want my baby to die", says the main innocent illegal immigrant who came to this bad white Europe from happy Africa to teach some whites what it's like to be a compassionate and loving human being. Of course the black family is loving and caring about each other unlike the white father-son "bond" which a viewer can doubt if they are even relatives. Of course if you are white and see a poor innocent illegal immigrant in trouble you have to do all in your power to help them even at your own expense or your family or whatever you might sacrifice all along the black illegal immigrant condemning you as trash. Because, after all, you are the rot and they are just innocent illegal immigrants who came to shitty Europe for ... better life.
September 27, 2016
At the beginning, 15 year old Igor steals an old ladies purse so that he can steal the money from it while working as an apprentice at a garage. It is then later, viewers get to see him as his dad make a living, which is by exploiting the immigration system. As Igor gets a rapport with one of his father's tenants.
November 12, 2014
I've had this film for a very long time. I was uncertain if I had already seen it but I was only confusing it with "L'enfant" I believe.

Anyhow, this is a pretty early Dardenne-film, and Jrmie Renier's first full lenght. It's very naturalistic and there are loads of sadness here. Most Dardenne-films tent to feel very alike. They often use the same actors, and they are all pretty short films. The themes change but there are always some of this mentioned sadness and they are also relevant and realistic.

Well acted, well developed and it carries some big emotions. Gritty and staight forward, still smart and very intriguing. The Dardenne Brothers are two of my favorite directors and this film is very solid, still not their best effort to date. Upcoming "Deux jours, une nuit" looks very promising as well.

8.5 out of 10 scooters.
½ October 23, 2014
A promise. What does that word mean to you? How far would you go to keep a promise you made to someone? Would you betray someone close to you to keep that promise? 'La Promesse' is a brilliant debut by the Belgian duo, Dardenne brothers, showing a 15-year old boy's brave efforts to keep his promise. The movie is about morality and responsibility. It's easy for one to blame their bad upbringing or company for their immoral ways, but it takes real courage and a good conscience to rise above those ways and become a better human being.

With hand-held cameras, simple narrative, inexperienced actors and no background score, Dardenne brothers' bold approach is quite refreshing and realistic; they place us right there, in suburban Belgium, where the story is unfolding. The story is stirring, and the acting is quite incredible, especially by Jeremie Renier; their eyes speak a lot.

I liked the way they handled superstitions and rituals related to it; it was darkly amusing.

The final scene is quite uplifting and heartbreaking. I loved the way they ended the movie; it keeps you pondering over a few things.
½ September 3, 2014
excellent, gritty ensemble piece on the subject of honour among thieves. great performances from all the leads
July 22, 2014
It's funny how the Dardennes are seen as brutal, stark realists making typical boring European arthouse films, while I'm finding one of their strongest qualities is their well-constructed, compelling, novelistic plots. Goes to show that just because you use hand-held cameras and non-professional actors doesn't mean you have to take realism as a suicide pact. (Though their treatment of African immigrants is a little patronising, which is probably a symptom of being white and liberal.)
March 11, 2014
Sometimes you just bring out the best out of the very worst. It is a boy's story of coming of age from a situation which is totally bleak and devoid of humanity. He had one compulsion to keep the promise made to a fateless dying man. He had other motivation also to protect his father and his criminal activity. Being torn between the opposites he takes a course of activity which was really unexpected. There he grows into a man, a conscientious human being. The moral dilemma gives rise to sense of propriety. A gem comes out even from the curse of a depraved and betrayed childhood.
April 23, 2013
La Promesse is envolving as it is affecting, boasted by a terrific script by the Dardenne brothers and outstanding performances from its cast.
March 9, 2013
Hesitancy is observable in this, the Dardenne Brother's self-recognized first film. They are toying with the form they would eventually master in Rosetta and in all subsequent films. Still really good though. Packed with the same emotional urgency as everything they made after.
March 6, 2013
A simple film with philosophic ideas and of human relationship.Dardenne brothers' debut film has some interesting premises about father-son relationship, migration problems in Europe, interaction between people of different race and creeds and starts from there with the director's signature handheld cameraworks.
But the film arrived to some cliches at the middle when we would see the good-old black exploitation and hatred from whites,their unity only within their race in 20th century.From then the film suffered dragging a bit and near to the end, the boy's realization of his father's selfish cruelty and his confession to the struggling wife saves the film from being a outdated.
Though this one one also consists of some unsung relationship like other of their films. From that point of view,only the boy's morality is not justified to convince his character but his affection and coming of age characteristics are responsible largely on that matter.
February 5, 2013
Doesn't Belgium offer emergency medical service to the undocumented ? I mean even US will treat "illegals" in its emergency care, albeit at insane prices that are charged AFTERWARDS. But it would be a national disgrace for any developed country to deny emergency care for a baby because of lack of insurance/citizenship/residence !
½ February 3, 2013
La Promesse is a touching film about a boy learning to stand his ground and learning lessons in morality. The film has an almost documentary direct cinema style in which it is shot, not to be confused with Cinma vrit, the cast acts as though the camera man is a fly on the wall. The ending of the film truly begs the question of when does one decide when to stand up for yourself and make honest to ones word. A heart- wrenching, yet hopeful film for mankind as, if Igor can learn these lessons of a promise, maybe we can also.
½ January 14, 2013
Excellent Belgium film that tackles a universal sticky subject for any 1st World and 2nd World countries....illegal immigration. It takes a look at the moral quandry through the eyes of a young teenager who helps his father in the enterprise of bringing in and housing and getting illegals to work in the country. Police investigators are a problem, accidents are problems, and young sons who have a sense of responsibility for human decency along with a strong family bond along with a Dogme 95 like direction style (more along the lines of handheld camera action with extreme close-ups and a natural style of bringing you into the "action") equals an excellent film with an ending that doesn't quite sit well with this reviewer b/c it slightly stumps me. Maybe I got lost in the translation here, I have a feeling as to why it ends in the manner it does but it's still a bit of a headscratcher b/c nothing is said as the characters walk away from the screen saying nothing.
December 28, 2012
Perfect filmmaking. Great look, great story, great dialogue, great acting all around. I can't find a fault in this film.
December 2, 2012
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.
½ May 7, 2012
Feels at times like a Documentary. Very natural acting... a subject that will prick your conscience.
This Brilliant film makes you confused over which character your sympathies should lie with - the hapless son, the cruel but caring father or the ignorant wife who's lost her husband.
Super Reviewer
February 24, 2012
Wow! Another great film from the Dardenne. I truly believe that they are incapable of making anything less than a gripping tale.
½ January 6, 2012
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