The Promise has all the trappings of a sleazy crime drama, but there's a sense of innocence buried underneath all the dirt that helps set it apart. Even as Igor helps his father do the shadiest things to exploit the illegal immigrants under their care, you can see the boy slowly wake up to the realization that life can't just be a series of transactions, rewards, and punishments. As writers and directors, the Dardenne brothers present Igor's coming of age with frankness and without pretension—even when a hint of the mystical begins to compel him to tell the truth. It might not seem all that complex at first, but the details that make up this world are fully immersive from start to finish.
Actor: Frédéric Bodson, Jean-Michel Balthazar, Jérémie Renier, Norbert Rutili, Olivier Gourmet, Sophia Leboutte
Director: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne