Film Review: Love Attempts to Infiltrate Horror in 'The Promise'

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Average: 5 (1 vote)

CHICAGO – So much of civilization’s story is lost in the mist of “winners write the history,” and even as recently as 100 years ago there are instances of world history that is not generally taught. “The Promise” is set during the World War I period, and has a love triangle in the midst of a little known genocide.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

The love triangle is represented by a top drawer trio… Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac and Charlotte Le Bon, and the heartache of the situation has echoes of Dr. Zhivago, without the soap opera. The attempted ethnic cleansing of the Armenian people at the hands of Ottoman Empire-era Turkey is shown with a tense desperation that doesn’t let up, even in the end. The information about the cleansing is exposed through the lovers surviving through it, and puts a spotlight on humans who become a cruel beast, and victimizes a tribe of people just for being who they are. As with the Native Americans in the USA and the Jewish population in World War II Germany, the example of man’s inhumanity to man never ceases to chill the spine, especially in when it occurred such a relatively short time ago.

Christian Bale is American journalist Chris Meyers, a sole AP newspaper reporter reporting on warring factions in Ottoman Empire Turkey in and around 1915. He is having a relationship with Ana (Charlotte Le Bon), an Armenian woman who studied in Paris. The third player in the trio is an Armenian medical student named Mikael (Oscar Isaac), who has come together with the other two in Constantinople.

Mikael’s uncle is encouraging his nephew to woo Ana away from Meyers, even though the student is in the city because of a dowry and a promise of marriage to a woman from his village. When Chris is called away to cover a story, Ana and Mikael do connect, and this begins a love triangle that will be in the foreground of the Armenian genocide, in which Mikael will marry the woman from the village to survive – but the three are still destined to meet again.

“The Promise” opened everywhere April 21st. Featuring Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac, Charlotte Le Bon and Shohreh Aghdashloo. Written by Terry George and Robin Swicord. Directed by Terry George. Rated “PG-13”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “The Promise”

Promise1
Mikael (Oscar Isaac) and Ana (Charlotte Le Bon) in ‘The Promise’
Photo credit: Open Roads Films (II)

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “The Promise”

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