2016 ‧ Drama film/History ‧ 2h 15m
The bones of a truly great epic about finding hope in a seemingly hopeless scenario are certainly there, but The Promise frustrates because it stubbornly insists on trying to do much more than it reasonably should. The romantic love triangle between Mikael, Ana, and Chris never feels earned or even remotely tangible, especially as Bale’s Chris continues to prove himself as a heroic and honorable man, who only seems to get worked up about Ana and Mikael’s affair briefly during one chaotic scene near the middle of the film. For this reason alone, Bale is able to give the best performance out of the three leads, as he’s able to stay fairly clear of the cliched writing and moments that drag The Promise down.
What’s even worse is that when The Promise isn’t concerning itself with Ana and Mikael’s lackluster romance, it manages to capture moments of real tragedy, heroism, and human defiance. It’s in these moments, like when Chris and Mikael are forced to run through a dense forest in the hills of Turkey away from their violent Turkish pursuers, that George manages to most closely touch the same depth he captured in the flawed, but important Hotel Rwanda. That 2004 film from George, which told a similar story about genocide, never quite lost sight of the horrible atrocities being committed to its characters, even despite being messy in its own right.
That’s not to say that George goes light on scenes of murder and death in The Promise either, but rather that they never quite land with the same weight as they did in Hotel Rwanda. It’s clear that with the love story between Mikael and Ana he’s trying to bring a face to the millions of Armenians who lost their lives at the hands of the Turkish empire, but their romance merely distracts from the far more interesting and important events happening before and after their scenes together. It’s hard not to wonder if The Promise would have been more effective had Mikael, Chris, and Ana simply been friends forced to try and live through a terrible time together, rather than war-torn lovers.
The Promise, Reviews
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The Promise,” a love story set against the backdrop of the Armenian Genocide of 1915, reportedly cost about $100 million to make. But it could …
Official movie website for THE PROMISE, starring Oscar Isaac, Charlotte Le Bon, and Christian Bale. Now Playing.
Synopsis. Empires fall, love survives. When Michael (Oscar Isaac), a brilliant medical student, meets Ana (Charlotte Le Bon), their shared …