La Promesse (The Promise)
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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… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"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."
‑ Jeff Millar, Houston Chronicle
"Ranks with the great European art-house classics about childhood betrayed and innocence lost."
‑ John Hartl,
"The Dardennes' film is unfussy and the revelations small but that is why it is so affecting."
‑ Amber Wilkinson, Eye for Film
"This is a raw, intense, and engaging anatomy of a 15-year-old boy's moral coming of age in a bleak Belgian town."
‑ Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
"A troubling, offbeat and somewhat downbeat drama with no easy answers, with a stark, realistic style and some very good performances."
‑ Jeff Vice, Deseret News, Salt Lake City
"The conflicts involved are intense and absorbing, proving that compelling moral dilemmas make for the most dramatic cinema."
‑ Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"Speaks volumes about how we treat other human beings and what it means to truly grow up."
‑ James Berardinelli, ReelViews
"(The Dardennes') "first" film has attained a special place in the hearts of critics and other viewers. Its reputation has not been exaggerated in the least."
‑ Christopher Long, Movie Metropolis
"A meaningless pseudo-expose of the plight of immigrant workers."
‑ Steve Rhodes, Internet Reviews
"A penetrating coming-of-age story, one that argues that adulthood begins with the emergence of moral convictions."
‑ Marjorie Baumgarten, Austin Chronicle
"The Dardenne brothers, as shown by their empathic casting, their very choice of theme, have confessed to a burden. They believe in hope."
‑ Stanley Kauffmann, The New Republic
"Almost everyone should be able to identify with the wrenching moral quandary facing Igor."
‑ Stephen Holden, New York Times
"The Dardenne brothers feature debut is a stunning achievement, an emotionally powerful coming of age tale, which shows that humanism can prevail in the harshest economic conditions."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"This is a grim morality tale that can't help putting you in someone else's shoes, wondering what you would do if you were in the same situation."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Impressively written and directed by Belgian brothers Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne."
‑ Jack Garner, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
More reviews for La Promesse (The Promise) on Rotten Tomatoes