Let me start by writing that "No Promised Land" could easily be called "No Promised life." In the film, an affair between a native woman and an older man produces a son, while flashbacks using home videos show what appears to be a happy home. Happy baby in a crib, family gatherings, etc. But in the present, we are in the back seat of a car, and a young boy is happily watching movies on some device with headphones. The boy is about four or five years old - a lady is driving, and there is little conversation between the driver and the woman in the back. When the driver asks where they are going, the answer is, "just keep driving." Well, that's not very nice, is it?
More flashbacks to childhood memories - the woman grew up on a reservation and those are no doubt happier times. More flashbacks. There's not a lot of dialogue, but it becomes clear that this relationship doesn't seem to be working out very well. Plenty of yelling and screaming - confrontational situations. Is there another woman? Is he a married man? We return to the present, and it becomes obvious that the woman is bleeding from the stomach. Things become a little clearer when they stop for food through a drive-thru, and the driver tells the cashier that she's being kidnapped. Ah Ha! That's why there's such tension between these two. A big reveal indeed.
More flashbacks show a life that is not working out—a single mother fallen on hard times - my heart aches for anybody living this kind of life. It's heartbreaking. To be honest, "No Promised Land" truly is a heartbreaking movie. The little boy does a great job of being "a happy little boy," and his mother is very convincing as the scorned woman. After many pleas to her lover for money or just to help out, she reaches the point of no return. Flashbacks of entering a store and confronting the "other woman" are the central point of this film. To reveal any more at this point would be to give away too much. How far can a person go for the love of their child? Sometimes way too far, unfortunately.
"No Promised Land" was, without a doubt, shot really well. The editing could have been a little more chronological - for my taste, and I think that may have made the film a little stronger. I also couldn't help but notice what I perceived as a huge hole in the story at the end. It kind of left me scratching my head a little. I think it's the weakest point of the movie. All in all, however, "No Promised Land" is clearly a pretty passionate piece of work with some heavy drama indeed. I give this film a well-earned three and a half stars.