In The Promise we follow a teenager and his dad. The kid is a petty thief and his dad is his role model. Together, they run an illegal business involving illegal immigrants. They offer them a job & a place to sleep and then charge them money accordingly. Most of the times the immigrants are being tricked but there’s not much they can do for fear of deportations. One day, one of them falls from a scaffolding to his death, while working. The son & the dad quickly decide to hide his body away. Before dying though, the worker makes the teenager promise him that he’ll take care of his wife & child. A moral dilemma begins. The teen is caught between the guilt and his allegiance to his father.
Just like in Rosetta, the Dardenne brothers portray young adults pushed into difficult situations, cornered by the bad decisions taken by their parents.
Style is stark as always, as only social realism dramas under grey Belgian skies can be.
A narrative of great simplicity and force.