The Promise

“The Promise” is the story of an Armenian as he seeks to save his family and friends from the Armenian Genocide of the early 20th century. Oscar Isaac plays main protagonist Michael with enough depth to make the love triangle he becomes entangled in believable.
Thankfully the romance is not the only trick up the movie’s sleeve. We follow a tale of intrigue as characters are faced with situations that force them to put any romance on the back burner to avoid mortal harm. The movie boasts a likable cast of characters that bounce in and out of the story.
When someone makes a reappearance amidst the chaos, you feel the relief along with the characters. Likewise when another is put in peril, you feel their dread along with them.
Christian Bale does a fantastic job adhering to a character whose role is never quite clear. When his character Christopher is introduced, he plays the blustering drunk well enough to make it a genuine surprise when he shifts to fit the role of a daring hero. Even so, he never threatens to eclipse the main character.
The two act as a sort of foil for each other, as they take turns helping those around them and dealing with problems that arise from doing so.
Ana, the female lead played by Charlotte Le Bon leaves a bit to be desired. She seems to go through the story acting out in uncharacteristic ways in service of the plot without much justification.
“The Promise” is not without it’s faults but they won’t stop you from getting caught up in the characters as they try to find their way out of increasingly bad situations. The movie also seeks to shed light on one of the lesser-known atrocities of the 20th century. If nothing else, it’s worth the running time just for that. The fact that it’s a compelling story doesn’t hurt either.