The trailer for “The Promise” doesn’t do this movie justice. You go expecting a love story and you actually get an important history lesson that most people don’t know about, but you also get a very good story.
Set during World War I, “The Promise” follows the love triangle of three people forced to endure the Turkish Muslim massacre of the Armenian Christians. Leaders of the Turkish government set in motion a plan to expel and massacre Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire. There were about 2 million Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire in 1914. When the massacres and deportations ended, 1.5 million of Turkey’s Armenians were dead, with many more forcibly removed from the country. After a hundred and three years, Turkey still refuses to admit to the massacre.
Academy Award Winner Christian Bale is Chris Meyers, an Associated Press journalist. Oscar Issac stars as Armenian Medical Student Mikael Boghosian. Charlotte Le Bon plays the love interest for both men. Academy Award Nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo is Mikael’s mother Marta and Academy Award Nominee James Cromwell plays Henry Morgenthau.
“The Promise” was written by Academy Award Winner Terry George and Academy Award Nominee Robin Swicord. Swicord also wrote “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Memoirs of a Geisha” and “Little Women.”
George directed “The Promise.” He also directed another movie about a massacre, “Hotel Rwanda”
The sets and the costumes are extraordinarily well done and set the mood. Immediately, you are in Constantinople (Istanbul) and it is 1914.
The cinematography was striking. There are many shots of the Turkish countryside that are quite picturesque. If the country wasn’t in such turmoil, this film would act as a travelogue. Turkey is beautiful.
The background music is subtle but has a Turkish flavor that transports you mentally to another place and time.
With all the unrest in Turkey today, this film is quite timely. Even though “The Promise” has a PG-13 rating, you may not want to take younger children as they will find some of the scenes disturbing
My only criticism of “The Promise” is that it runs 2 hours and 13 minutes . It is a little too long. The Film Editor needed to tweak it a little more and take another 5 to 10 minutes out of it but I am not sure where because this film took time to set up since it is not a story most people are aware of.
“The Promise” opens Friday at AMC Showplace Edwardsville 12.