shines a spotlight on this awful chapter
Set during the sunset of the Ottoman Empire, The Promise tells the true story of the awful and sadly forgotten Armenian Genocide, where 1.5 million people were brutally slaughtered by the Ottoman and Turkish authorities because of their ethnicity. This is a genocide which, amazingly, the Turkish authorities still bold-facedly deny; therefore, this is an important story that needs to be told.
The film follows a love triangle between an American journalist (Christian Bale), an Armenian artist (Charlotte le Bon), and an Armenian medical student (Oscar Isaac). As the Empire enters the First World War, our trio’s charmed existence spirals into the depths of nightmare.
By focusing on this love triangle, does The Promise belittle or demean the awful genocide by turning the film into a soppy wartime romance? Absolutely not. Rather, we become invested in the Armenian people and their plight directly through our affection for our leads. It allows us to explore the Turkish and Armenian society of the time, and the place of religion and culture.
The acting is first rate. Christian Bale is well-known as one of the most versatile, brilliant, and committed actors of his generation. Oscar Isaac is less well-known to the general public, but his performance here can leave no doubt in anyone’s minds as to his phenomenal talent.
This film wonderfully shines a spotlight on this awful chapter in human history which the Turkish government still refuses to acknowledge.
© 2020-2022 Bryan A. J. Parry
featured image from https://image.tmdb.org/t/p/original/qM61fndC3TN023zapoNVuNIgU72.jpg