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|Index||20 reviews in total|
A great piece of intelligent television. Biased? Didn't seem to spare anyone. Pretty much every group was shown acting horrendously, but also how much of those actions arose/arise from the context, and were compelling and difficult to avoid. Palestinians, British, the Isrealis, none demonised despite the awful things they all did and do, and as such it was really a remarkable feat. It is very hard to find that middle ground, (and that is also the problem for those in Isreal who want peace too). Great performances from Christian Cooke and Clare Foy. Clare in particular played the not terribly likable ingénue with distinction and subtlety. It isn't Hollywood, not evil v good, no heroes and no villains. The violence is shown as solving nothing and just leads to more vile acts of attrition. The story that holds it together has some artificiality, but does manage to run the two threads, 1947-8 and 2010 together very well.
I have a thing about miniseries as much more can be put into 6-8hrs
that can be packed into the 2hrs of a feature length story. IMO almost
all of televisions greatest works are in mini-series such as 'Boys from
the Black Stuff', Traffic' & 'Edge of Darkness'. Alan Bleasdale has
always been the master of this format but, with 'The Promise', Peter
Kosminsky joins him at the top. All 8hrs is used to maximum effect.
'The Promise' shows how Israel was born in violence & how the violence is maintained in the present day. Around this Kosminsky has drawn a gripping storyline of the granddaughter of a soldier in the British Protectorate searching out the mystery of her grandfathers story. Thus Erin, the granddaughter travels modern Israel while her grandfathers story shows late '40s Palestine & the birth of Israel.
Kosminsky has been accused of taking an anti-Jewish stance with this series but I cannot agree with this. The British & Israeli forces are everywhere and very prominent while the modern Palestinian terrorist is a small minority. This is how Kosminsky shows it and I believe that to have given more prominence to the Palestinian violence would have introduced a pro-Israeli bias.
I do not give 10/10 lightly but 'The Promise' has earnt it as absolute top quality viewing.
I had a personal interest in this for two reasons. My father served with the paras in Palestine (having joined up to fight the Germans) and I've had a long-term interest in what is now known as the 'IP' question. I have to say I was engrossed by the whole series, although there a few dramatic devices which were verging on the unbelievable. It might have worked better as a drama for those who knew absolutely nothing about the situation, in either era. I probably spent too much time worrying about the politics. My sympathies have always lain with the Palestinian side, and there were bits of it I thought were good for setting out a side to Israel that isn't always seen (eg the attitude of the settlers to the indigenous population, which I suspect are an embarrassment to many Israelis). However, although I know where I stand, I wouldn't want to watch anything which contained too much simple propaganda. I think The Promise did achieve a level of balance, sometimes to the detriment of the drama (eg the King David Hotel incident being followed by a suicide bomber). The perception has been is that The Promise was more pro Arab than Israeli, but I can guarantee that no-one with strong views and a knowledge of the history would be particularly satisfied with the politics. For instance, all the main characters were either Brits or Jews, the Arabs were walk-on one dimensional characters. I think it can best be regarded as a drama set in turbulent times, and not as a drama documentary - there is simply too much history to cover to do anything else. I realise it was a dramatic device but poor Len seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time throughout. To put in context, the British had about 100,000 troops in Palestine from 46 to 48, and lost 234 (ish). Not a small figure, but less than you would think from watching The Promise where every other Jew appeared to be a member of the Irgun (which was just one of a number of Jewish organisations). And the 100,000 weren't all Paras... As others have mentioned, why didn't Erin just read the whole diary at once!! Anyway, I elected not to include spoilers so I'll remain silent on various bits which annoyed me along the 'that didn't happen' and 'that couldn't happen' lines. But overall, I did actually enjoy it. Worth watching.
For a person who has been to the places that Kosminsky had shot, this
piece of work is certainly worth the praise and had pushed me to write
my first review on IMDb.
This outstanding piece of work, especially in photography and editing, indeed moves different audiences. The analogy between the past and the presence presents a different approach to seeing the Palestinian cause, especially from a foreigner's point of view.
The director is first a true historian, then a talented artist and finally an outstanding director. I sent this series to all of my family and friends as a must-watch.
Some of the reviewers obviously based their rating on their personal political stance. There is a reason that this time period and the events covered in this series are very seldom the topic of film or television. Inevitably it makes the Jews look bad. After all, it was the Jews that were invading. The Arabs were defending their homes. This is not a popular subject these days. All credit to the producers and staff of this series for their courageous efforts. Having gotten that out of the way, the series held my interest, entertained me, and motivated me to further research on the time and place dealt with. In my view, this makes it worthy of praise no matter how many people try to discredit it and lower the viewer rating.
I come from Palestine, when I started watching this mini-series, I was mentally prepared for the common western biased production of The Palestine cause, I am surprised at the end, that this was not only unbiased to any party, but also, shed more in my conscious on the British position, the Jews misery in Germany and later their perspective to occupy our lands and renaming our country. The drama was great, not a common Hollywood Bad Guys Vs.Good Guys BS. It gave me an urge to watch again and again and show it to my parents, relatives who are all refugees, a great and intelligent production, I strongly recommend it to anyone. If I was not Palestinian, or involved in this story, I still find a great story line, intelligent script and acting.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The British period in Palestine is a fascinating topic that I have
never before seen treated in films or TV. Unfortunately, Mr. Kosminsky
saw fit to include a modern parallel story, set in 2005. The modern
story is unbelievable to the point of absurdity, and offers nothing we
haven't seen before. Also, it takes too much time from the more
interesting 1940s story, leaving the characters too thin for this
Politically, the series is anything but neutral. Arabs are presented as noble, innocent victims of Jewish land theft and terror (in both stories) and British bullying. The British are shown as benevolent rulers, if occasionally brutish. The Jews of the 1940s, sympathetic-looking at first, all turn out to be evil Irgun fanatics whose cruelty and heartlessness has no limits. I know the atrocities depicted are historical (although it is impossible for our hero Len to witness all of them, especially Deir Yassin) but why aren't we shown any Arab wrongdoing at all? The modern story does have a couple of nice Jews - those with leftist views and Palestinian friends.
The actors are good, but Len is too soulful for a hardened WWII veteran - he spends the whole of episode 4 almost bursting in tears. In real life, he would have been court-martialed or at least transferred much earlier, after telling his captain that he revealed the information that got two of his mates murdered.
Both the 1940s and 2005 British protagonists end up participating actively in the conflict, on the Arab side of course. This is a spoiler but definitely not a surprise to the viewer.
Very good, finally a fairly balanced attempt at depicting the middle-
eastern problem. I very much appreciated the fact that the movie tried
to remain rather unbiased (except toward the end, where it went a
little over the top with showing the brutality of the IDF and
excessively victimizing the Palestinians). The two story lines make it
possible to show at the same time both the current situation as well as
the original creation of the problem, its roots. Great idea!
All in all, some good acting, good cinematography and decent, clear dialog (especially for a made-for-TV flick). If anything is lacking its a good musical score, but it doesn't take away much from the movie. I can only recommend this movie to all. Most will learn a lot by watching it, and it will make many think again about the preconceptions they have about this issue, mostly due to ignorance and misinformation in the media.
Astonishing is all I can say, I fail to find the words to describe this piece of work. Maybe being an Arab who's heart breaks in two every time he hears about his neighboring country and how they were left helpless to struggle and still are effects me more, maybe thats why the movie got to me so deeply. I wouldn't want to take the credit off the producer nor the cast or anyone who participated in this magnificent work good job. This is a must see series. People (ofcourse I know which sort of people) will start to take us into the small details of events and how the IDF does that and doesn't do that, I believe the picture is clear for those who have hearts and minds to see with.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Most Americans are most likely unfamiliar with the creation of Israel
after WW II. This series offers some historical perspective to what is
usually seen as a single point of view: Jewish refugees trying to
establish a homeland after surviving the Nazi death camps (the good);
the Arabs (Palestinians) trying to keep them out (the bad); and the
British troops trying to maintain a tenuous peace (the ugly). As usual,
the real story is various shades of grey. This series is presented
somewhat through the eyes of Erin Matthews, a twenty year old who is
spending part of her gap year--year between finishing what we think of
as high school and starting college--with her friend Eliza who is a
British Jew who returns to Israel to begin her national service. Erin
discovers before leaving England her grandfather's diary which tells
his story as a sergeant in the British army serving in Palestine during
the 1940's. The story moves back and forth between the story of her
grandfather, Len Matthews, and her experiences in Israel as she reads
and tries to follow through on his story as related in the diary. In
this telling it is made clear that the Jewish refugees are intent on
creating a homeland regardless of the cost in life to the Palestinians
or British troops. As a result, Len Matthews who began his service in
sympathy with the Jews finds his feelings change as a result of his
experiences. And Erin also finds that in the present day the
assumptions she has been brought up with are now being challenged by
I personally found Len's story quite compelling and in part due to the fine acting of Christian Cooke as Len; and while Erin's story is also arresting, Claire Foy's Erin is a somewhat irritating and an unsympathetic character. Almost obnoxious. However, the large cast does an excellent job and there is no way you can watch one segment of the series and not feel compelled to watch the subsequent episodes.
While I find the story well balanced in trying to show the larger picture, I am sure some will be upset to find that the Israelis are not depicted as the completely good guy underdogs of history. But if you want a better understanding of the current unrest in the Middle East then this is both an entreating and illuminating series.
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