(K. Brent Tomer),
THE road that an idea takes from the screenwriter’s mind to your local multiplex is besieged by obstacles political, financial and practical in nature. The average blockbuster has to contend with budget fights and studio meddling; a film like “The Promise” is even trickier to bring to the screen. A sweeping historical drama about a national tragedy, it is the sort of movie that Hollywood used to love. But for more than a century, writers and studios have turned their faces away from the story. In many ways, the film succeeds simply by exploring an event that others will not.
Set in 1915, “The Promise” centres on a passionate love triangle but is informed by the genocide perpetrated against Armenians by officials of the Ottoman Empire. Oscar Isaac plays a humble Armenian medical student who tries to escape the massacre and save his family, while falling in love with an American dance instructor (Charlotte Le Bon) thereby earning a rivalry with her journalist boyfriend (Christian Bale). It is a stirring, if somewhat by-the-numbers depiction of heroism and survival in horrifying times, but it will not make the pantheon of great historical films. The love story is shallowly written, and the…Continue reading