Using his finance’s dowry Armenian chemist Mikael promises to return to his rural village as a newly qualified doctor and marry his betrothed. However once in Constantinople, the medical student meets the beautiful Ana as war breaks out in the last days of the Ottoman Empire and his life will never be same again.
Oscar Isaacs impresses as Mikael, the conflicted doctor caught between two lives as his world descends into chaos caught in the midst of a revolution. With a lavish budget and Christian Bale playing an American reporter covering the fighting, the film seeks to document one of the largest cases of systematic genocide.
‘The Promise’ lacks the punch of ‘Come and See’…
However for all of its budget and solid cameos from Tom Hollander and Jean Reno not withstanding, ‘The Promise’ lacks the punch of ‘Come and See’ or the memorable dialogue / scenes / or directorial touch of ‘Schlinder’s List’. Also missing is any understanding as to why the country exploded into war or the deeper reasons for the Turk’s desire to exterminate all the Armenians.
Whilst the entertainment ‘The Promise’s’ extended love triangle stoically zig-zags through the main historical events, its story stills feels heavily constructed with the shadow of ‘Dr Zhivago’ and other historical epics hanging over it. “Lovers caught in the storm of war” is a familiar plot line and (similar to ‘Defiance’) ‘The Promise’ feels like it would been better served with characters nearer the levers of power so as to better understand this atrocity.