In Brief: Promises much and doesn’t deliver.
The Promise is set in 1915 at the outset of World War I and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. During that era the Turkish government began a systematic mass murder and persecution of the Armenians who shared their land.
The plot thrusts Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), Christian Bale and The Hundred-Foot Journey’s Charlotte Le Bon into love triangle as war breaks out. Issac and Le Bon are Armenian and Bale is cast as an American journalist covering the atrocities.
The characters move in soap opera fashion through an interesting story co-written by Hotel Rwanda writer/director Terry George and Robin Swicord who penned The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. From an historical perspective its accurate but fails to explain the reason for the clash of the cultures. Not a fatal flaw. The love triangle, however, is fatal. A concept as dated as the weaponry of World War I implodes in spectacular fashion and the film doesn’t deliver on its promise.
Director: Terry George
Stars: Oscar Isaac, Christian Bale, Charlotte Le Bon, James Cromwell, Tom Hollander, Jean Ren
Rated PG-13 for mature themes, violence. Tedious soap opera wrapped around real history. Give it a 2 on the Average Joe Movie 0 to 5 scale.
5 to 4 1/2: Must see on the big screen.
4 to 3 1/2: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.
3 to 2 1/2: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 to 1: Don’t bother.
0:Speaks for itself.
Gary Wolcott has been a movie consultant for KXL since 2014. A lifelong fan of film, he’s been a film critic in radio, television and newspaper for 25-years. Wolcott catches a couple of hundred movies a year and he sees a great many of them so you don’t have to.
Got a movie suggestion or comment? Email him!