IDFA 2016, The Promise

Extremely disturbing and, once again, hopeless story. A middle-aged man tells his story in German in a prison interview room. As an impressionable 18-year old exchange student, he fell desperately in love with a beautiful rich girl. Elizabeth seemed to be sufferin from some mental disorder and believed that her parents had abused her. One weekend she concocted a weekend away with Jens as an alibi and slipped back home, where she (or someone) brutally murdered her parents. As a naive, privileged foreigner, Jens believed that he had diplomatic immunity and, if convicted, would be extradited back to Germany where he would serve a few years and then be released for good behavior. So he confesses to a crime he did not commit and spends the rest of his life regretting it.
That’s basically the movie. There are lots of twists and turns and old footage with bad 80’s glasses, but, as we are informed before the credits, his parole hearings have all been unsuccessful. Heartbreaking to see such a waste of an intelligent young man.


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