An important movie that you’ll wish was just a little bit better. By Alex Welch
The story of the Armenian Genocide is one of the most tragic tales in human history, when on the brink of World War 1, Turkey began systematically killing Armenian citizens throughout their country under the disguise of a “relocation” of the people. In the end, 1.5 million Armenians were killed, and while the Turkish government still refuses to recognize the event, the story has been waiting for the right film to bring its tragedy to life on the big screen for years now. But despite the staggering talents of its lead cast members, writer and director Terry George’s The Promise just isn’t that film.
Set during the time just before the first World War, the film begins by introducing us to Oscar Isaac’s Mikael, an intelligent and passionate Armenian man living in a remote village located in the hills of Turkey. We quickly learn, through a clunky, expository, opening narration, that Mikael wants to study medicine so that he can bring all of the knowledge and tools of modern medical techniques to his home, but lacks the funds or means to do it.