By Mike D'Angelo
Updated December 11, 1998 at 05:00 AM EST
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La Promesse

type
  • Movie

Movies don’t come much simpler, or more authentically harrowing, than Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s La Promesse, an anti-flashy depiction of teenage confusion and anguish. Bad egg Igor (Jérémie Renier) finds himself unexpectedly torn: Can he remain loyal to his father (Olivier Gourmet), who smuggles in desperate immigrants from Africa and Eastern Europe and pays them slave wages for manual labor, and also keep a hasty promise made to a dying man injured on one of Dad’s shady construction projects? Combining a powerhouse three-act narrative with cinema vérité techniques — the Dardennes are longtime documentarians — La Promesse derives more gut-wrenching tension from Igor’s strained efforts to help the man’s family than seems possible from a film without a gun anywhere in sight. The result is an indelible portrait of a young man’s crisis of conscience. A-

La Promesse

type
  • Movie
mpaa
  • UNRATED
director
  • Jean-Pierre Dardenne
  • Luc Dardenne

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