It’s not always easy to identify “red flags” in a potential partner, but sometimes the problematic signs are just too obvious. For instance, imagine your best friend ghosting you for ten years, then suddenly reappearing as if nothing happened, only to confess their love for you because they fear someone else might take you away. Is it really wise to pursue a relationship with someone who caused you significant mental distress for a decade? The writers of 2023 Thai series “The Promise” seem to think it’s a great idea.
Directed by Kongkiat Khomsiri (who is one of the directors for “KinnPorsche”), the ten-episode-long show follows the story of childhood best friends Phupha and Nanfah, played by Kittikun Tansuhas and Wattikorn Permsubhirun, respectively. They stick together through thick and thin until they graduate from college, after which Phupha vanishes, never to be heard from again for ten years. Will Nanfah ever find his friend again and will they address their more than platonic feelings for each other?
The first few episodes of “The Promise” are nice enough, in large parts due to the beautiful cinematography. A lot of scenes take place in the rural region where the protagonists grew up as school boys, so there are lots of pretty countryside shots that capture Thailand’s natural beauty. Even the city scenes are aesthetically pleasing to the eye. But the story keeps getting weaker and weaker. Besides, there isn’t much chemistry between the leads and Kittikun Tansuhas seemed mostly uncomfortable throughout the runtime. Boss Thawatchanin Darayon who plays Nanfah’s colleague and close friend was a lot more likable and engaging.
Considering the leads are from the same village, it’s ridiculous how Nanfah never finds out Phupha’s whereabouts despite his best efforts. The guy even flies to Australia to find his bestie. The plot would’ve made more sense only if the timeline was set in the 1980s. Besides even the character development of the leads is pretty terrible. Phupha is portrayed as a sensitive shy soul, but his disappearing act is completely irrational and in a scene that’s completely contradictory to his personality, he pours his heart out at a public place. That was very awkward to watch. Another thing that made no sense in the show is the fact that different men keep falling for Nanfah, even though nobody even knows what his actual sexual preference is. Why not just ask?
Anyway, “The Promise” becomes increasingly overbearing to watch from episode six onward, and the finale is the most randomly directed episode of them all. At one point, I even questioned whether I had watched the previous episode because episode ten was just bizarre, featuring unnecessary comedy and an abruptly jarring climax.
It’s a 4 on 10 from me.