The Promise

Rated NR

The Promise looks great, but it makes little sense. The highly stylized scenery, depicting either a feel for romance with a sea of cherry blossoms, or that of war with a stampede of bulls, is captivating until the very end. However, the plot’s incoherency is in large part due to the fact that 18 minutes were edited from the original Chinese version. What didn’t get left on the cutting-room floor is a jarring and disjointed fantasy about a starry-eyed girl who promises a goddess that she’ll never have true love, in exchange for riches, beauty and adoration. Years later, the young girl is now a woman (Cecilia Cheung) who falls in love with a man she believes is a heroic general, but is actually the general’s servant in disguise. Meanwhile, a war rages on; the dead rise; bulls run amok, and a another suitor emerges, creating a convoluted and uninteresting love triangle.

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