Oscar Isaac, Christian Bale and Charlotte Le Bon star in this deeply affecting drama about the Armenian genocide, which delivers a touching and emotionally-charged story of love and survival through escalating tension. It’s one of the best dramas of the year, but if you headed over to the film’s IMDB page when this came out in cinemas, you’ll have seen a very low score for it. That’s because genocide deniers had been rating the film poorly (before the film was even actually released) in an attempt to discredit the movie. So The Promise is a very important film to witness as it shines a telling light onto the atrocities that took place.
Set during the last days of the Ottoman Empire, Press Association reporter Chris Myers (Christian Bale) and his girlfriend Ana Khesarian (Charlotte Le Bon) cross paths with a young man studying medicine named Mikael Boghosian (Oscar Isaac). Soon Ana and Mikael fall for one another, just as war breaks out. As violence is unleashed everywhere, Chris, Ana and Mikael find their lives intertwined as they attempt to flee from the massacre.
The film thrives on the dynamic between its three accomplished leads. Christian Bales makes any project better and delivers a stunning turn as the American journalist with a drinking problem who must get past his own heartbreak to get the truth out to the world. Oscar Isaac does exceptionally well as Mikael, with the film largely taking place from his viewpoint. Charlotte Le Bon continues to hand in noteworthy performances and easily convinces as the central figure of this love triangle. There’s solid support throughout too, especially from the brilliant Marwan Kenzari as Mikael’s privileged best friend Emre Ogan.
The Armenian Genocide, which is also known as the Armenian Holocaust, involved the systematic extermination of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians, ordered by the Ottoman government. Most Ottoman citizens within the Ottoman Empire and its successor state, the Republic of Turkey were affected during the period 1915-17. The Promise delivers a period drama that captures this time very accurately, from its location shoots to its attention to detail. Director Terry George, who also co-wrote the film with Robin Swicord, is no stranger to films about conflict, and he deserves a lot of praise for his work here.
The Promise is a heartbreaking, must-see film with outstanding performances from everyone involved. The subject matter is hard and the film is emotionally charged throughout. By making this film, the horrific stories of this period of time can finally be told and not erased from history. A well-made, important film that deserves your time and attention.
Cast: Oscar Isaac, Charlotte Le Bon, Christian Bale, Marwan Kenzari, Angela Sarafyan, Tom Hollander, Numan Acar, Igal Naor Director: Terry George Writer: Terry George, Robin Swicord Released By: eOne Certificate: 12A Duration: 133 mins Release Date: 4th September 2017