Romance! War! Fezes! So many fezes.
BQB here with a review of The Promise.
In the waning days of the Ottoman Empire, a love triangle forms between Armenian medical student Mikael (Oscar Isaac or “Poe Dameron” as Star Wars fans know him), American journalist Chris Myers (Christian Bale), and French Armenian artist Ana (Charlotte Le Bon).
Both men yearn for Ana’s heart (and cooter) but there’s much more evil doings afoot. The Ottoman Empire becomes Germany’s ally in World War I. Now stronger than ever thanks to their German benefactors, the Turkish majority army sets its sights on the country’s Armenian minority. Armenians are savagely executed, brutalized, rounded up, sent off to forced labor camps and so on.
Although the film is a love story and a war story, it’s much more than any of that. As far as I know (and perhaps historians/film buffs can prove me wrong), it’s the best, most compelling story of the Armenian Genocide, a horrific chapter in Turkey’s history that should be more well known to the world than it is.
As the film states, the French Navy was able to rescue 4,000 Armenians. However, a staggering 1.5 million Armenians were killed. To this day, the Turkish government denies that the Armenian Genocide ever happened. This sucks, especially since Turkey is a NATO ally.
It’s an Oscar-ish movie, though I doubt it will see any gold statues as it was released too early in the year. Oscar Isaac gets to shine in a non-comic book/sci-fi movie. Bale is an impressive adventurer/man of the world. Le Bon puts the filling in my Crepe Suzette and is so beautiful that you almost can’t blame Chris and Mikael for stopping periodically during the war to vie for Ana’s hand (and cooter).
STATUS: Shelf-worthy. A must see and it is a movie that does the world a service by shining a light on a tragic part of history.