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The Promise elicits a strong sense of Armenian nationalism in all the right ways. A-list actor Oscar Isaac portrays a young, Armenian man named Mikael Boghosian who goes to Constantinople to study as medical student. Isaac does an impressive job of not only representing the bravery and culture of the Armenian man during this time period, but does so with grace and passion.
The historical background of the Armenian Genocide goes hand-in-hand with a love triangle romance as the movie progresses. Chris Myers is an American reporter and journalist for the Associated Press played by Academy Award winner Christian Bale. Myers is the partner of Charlotte Le Bon’s character, Ana, who is an Armenian woman raised in Paris. Ana and Mikael fall in love, all while Ana is with Chris.
The movie is a true treasure. It is almost guaranteed to make viewers cry with its brutal displays of Ottoman barbarities to the Armenians and the struggle of the people as a whole. Though numerous critics have tried to degrade its true worth due to political stances, the film does keep The Promise.
The Armenian people have failed to gain recognition for genocidal crimes by Ottoman Turkey since 1915. The late Kirk Kerkorian, an Armenian-American businessman, put forth over $100 million into producing a mainstream film on the Armenian Genocide, a task that could only be done with major funding. The Promise had only been shown three times at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2016, yet it had received thousands of 1-star ratings on IMBD, notably by genocide deniers.
Despite negative feedback online, the movie proves to be a success with its exceptional acting, production and plot. It captures the truth and horror of the Armenian Genocide. Oscar-winning director Terry George does a magnificent job of portraying the story of the Armenian people, not just for Armenians, but for people of the world. It brings attention to the true heroes of the war, even the Turkish people who fought for justice for the Armenians.
George, who also directed Hotel Rwanda, has brought a lot of attention to this historical event. The romantic aspect of the film may make some reconsider watching, but the movie isn’t just about death. War involves hurt, betrayal and love. The love triangle presented in the movie unfolds in a way that captures the essence of life during that terrible era.
Few movies exist about the Armenian Genocide such 1915 and Ararat. Though these films were also beautifully produced, The Promise and its high budget production is something the Armenian community had not yet experienced.
The Promise is a movie that keeps the Armenian culture alive in a way many of us had not seen before. Not only do ticket proceeds go towards charity, but the film gives hope to many of us, even for those people who still face the reality of genocide across the globe. In fact, according to Los Angeles Daily News, “$20 million of proceeds from the movie will be used to create a new institute within UCLA’s law school.” The institute will be named “The Promise Institute for Human Rights,” and will receive the largest funding the law school had ever received.
This two-hour movie holds an epic tale and its movie ticket that’s worth the money. The Armenian people are forever grateful to Kerkorian and those involved in the movie who have made such a resilient minority heard. Indeed, the best revenge is to survive.