Still from Promised

Film Review: Promised

This new Australian feature, set in 1970s Melbourne, tells the story of two young people promised to each other in marriage despite their own wishes.

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Nick Conidi has delved into his Australian-Italian background to write and direct this romantic drama.
Based very loosely on the story of his own parents, it tells the story of two young Italians in the mid 1970s. Angela (Antoinette Iesu) and Robert (Daniel Berini) were promised to each other in marriage, when they were children. Their fathers now wish to see the marriage take place, but this new generation balks against the traditions.

The strong cast is lead by Paul Mercurio and Tina Arena in the roles of Angela’s parents Sal and Rosalba. The entire ensemble is well cast, and there is a strong chemistry between the characters.

This is an undeniably charming and engaging film. However, there are issues with the screenplay. Dialogue comes across as somewhat stilted, there is a distinct lack of the humour which weaves into everyday interactions, and much of the writing borders on the cliched. The whole script seems to be crying out for another couple of rewrites: it’s just not finished. The story line is well structured, but suffers from a tentativeness that at times tips into the coy. Scenes that could have been piercing or passionate instead are merely interesting or sweet. This should have been a much, much better piece of work.

However, despite being under-cooked, Promised is an enjoyable and charming film, painting a picture of one important element of Australian urban history: post-war Italian migration. Conidi is clearly a film-maker to watch. Once he really hits his stride, he will undoubtedly produce some incredible work.

Promised opens on October 24th.

CHARMING 3 stars

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