The Promise

"Very Good"

The Promise Review


The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder of 1.5 million Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians by the Turkish government between 1915 and 1923. Turkey has long denied that this took place, so the filmmakers take a rather soft approach to the story, setting out a romantic plotline with the genocide as a backdrop. So the resulting drama is somewhat uneven, but the events are so powerful that the film can't be ignored.

It opens in 1915 as the Ottoman Empire is collapsing. Mikael (Oscar Isaac) is a young Armenian studying medicine in Constantinople with a promised fiancee Maral (Angela Sarafyan) back home. Even so, he falls for Ana (Charlotte Le Bon), who shares his rural Armenian background. But she has a boyfriend, Chris (Christian Bale), who is investigating rumours of war as the Germans arrive to help the Turkish government round up its ethnic minorities. Mikael is soon arrested, but escapes from the work camp to return to his parents (Shohreh Aghdashloo and Kevork Malikyan) and Maral. Meanwhile, Chris and Ana are trying to report the story of what's really happening, and Mikael joins them to help a group of orphan refugees.

Yes, this is a sweeping epic in which there's a lot going on, and it's filmed on a lavish scale. The characters' lives continually intersect throughout the story, and the intensity of the wartime atrocities is seriously powerful. On the other hand, this makes the four-sided romance feel like a melodramatic distraction. The actors are solid, but the earnest tone undermines any real emotional edge. Isaac is sincere and decent, Le Bon is strong and wilful, Bale is solid and cynical, and Sarafyan is lost in the shuffle. Aghdashloo, as always, provides wrenching support.

Things are spiced up a bit with starry cameos from Tom Hollander (as a prison inmate), Rade Serbedzija (as a firebrand local politician), Tamer Hassan (a nasty Turk), James Cromwell (a helpful American diplomat) and Jean Reno (a caring French admiral). But the film never quite gets the balance right between the persona drama and the historical events. That said, the depiction of what happened here is both important and resonant. Not only is it scary to see events that preceded the Nazi's Final Solution by decades, but many sequences also echo in today's headlines about people fleeing for their lives from Syria and North Africa. It's a stark reminder that humanity has never been very good at learning from history.

Watch the trailer for The Promise:



The Promise

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 132 mins

In Theaters: Friday 21st April 2017

Distributed by: Open Road Films

Production compaines: Babieka, Wonderful Films, Survivor Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

IMDB: 4.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , , Eric Esrailian,

Starring: as Mikael Pogosian, as Ana Khesarian, as Chris Myers, as Reverend Dikran Antreassian, as Marta Boghosian, as Stephan, Marwan Kenzari as Emre Ogan, as Maral, as Garin, Numan Acar as Mustafa, Igal Naor as Mesrob, Milene Mayer as Yeva, as Faruk Pasha, Alicia Borrachero as Lena, as Harut, as Admiral Fournet, as Henry Morgenthau Sr., as Vartan Boghosian, Lucía Zorrilla as Tamar, Roman Mitichyan as Van, Armin Amiri as Captain Ali, Stewart Scudamore as Ismet Ogan, Andrew Tarbet as Pastor Merril, Aharon Ipalé as Dr. Nazim, Shnorhk Sargsyan as Komitas, Aaron Neil as Talaat Pasha, James Chanos as General Zyniker, Anthony Rotsa as Ahmet, as Brad, Àlex Maruny as Sharp Shooter 2

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.