7:30 PM, 31st August, 2017
The year is 1914. Mikael (Isaac) is an Armenian apothecary in a small mountain village, who longs to be a doctor. To achieve his goal, he commits himself to a marriage pact with a local girl, receiving a dowry that will allow him to attend medical school in Constantinople. Once in the big city, he meets glamorous Armenian artist Ana (Le Bon) and sparks fly. Though as luck would have it, Ana is already committed to Chris (Bale), a famous American photojournalist, who isn’t about to give Ana up without a fight.
If a love triangle isn’t complicated enough, all three are about to be swept up in something even bigger when the Ottoman Empire enters World War I – leading to the Armenian Genocide, in which the Turkish government slaughtered more than a million Armenians.
Part sprawling war romance, part sobering reminder of the atrocities of war, The Promise is a handsome, well-made film. Director Terry George (Hotel Rwanda) may be in familiar territory, but he’s no David Lean, and this ambitious historical epic can prove derivative, even corny at times. If nothing else, it’s a film that deserves important credit for shining a light on a crime that is controversially still being contested by some to this day.