The Promise (II) (2016)
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The movie is good, in general Oscar Isaac doesn't disappoint, and Le Bon adorably shines. That said, the crude, sad part is hard enough to watch, especially when you consider what's been shown is a mild version of what happened.
It's a good movie, even though a ten is too much, I have to over-vote it to compensate for those who willingly down-vote in order to bury the truth in the sand. Worth to get to know what happened, if only because many wouldn't want you to.
This film is from the same director that brought Hotel Rwanda to the festival a few years back. That presentation was a wonderfully moving experience for me as this one was also.
This film is not all about murder thankfully. Its about the people who were once a vibrant part of the former Ottoman empire that find all of their hopes and dreams for the future suddenly crushed. It has at its core a wonderful love story and it has attracted many fine actors to portray these memorable roles. I found the female roles to be particularly well designed and delivered. Excellent female roles in this film.
FYI: At my screening (2nd) the director told us that there were 1400 seats at the first screening and that there were already 4000 negative reviews on IMDb - yes he reads these reviews. I don't believe 100's of Turks would come to a film festival only to learn about the Armenian Holocaust. No one at my screening cried foul.
People that maintain it didn't happen are still trapped in a loop of denial.
If we cannot remember the past we are doomed to repeat it.
This film is careful not to delve to strongly into the depiction of violence. I think this film might be appropriate to teach children about history and also to teach children about people who want to cover up history.
It is October 5th, almost a month now since the premiere. Currently 54,000 negative reviews for a film that hasn't opened yet - that must be some sort of a record.
Those who provide a 1 star of 10 clearly are not actually rating the film, but providing political feedback. How many who have rated it as 1 in 10 have actually seen the film? Doubt many have. Some of the rants are a clear attempt at revisionist history to try to rationalize the actions of the Ottomans. Sad part is that there really should be no need for those rating that way to do so, since Turkey (which I know is a denier) is not the same as the Ottoman Empire, and modern Turkey (though less modern under Erdogan), and Turks, should feel no compulsion to try to defend that Empire.
Please use IMDb for the purposes for which it is meant, not to attack for political purposes. It would be fair, for example, only once one sees a film, to criticize it for being too political (though politics are worthy of expression in film), or too one-sided, and explain why, with examples.
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The first question was the Turkish reaction--you can see that for yourselves: 84,000 ratings (low!) on IMDb BEFORE the premier of the film! Magic, right? Clearly the Turks are organized and out to sabotage this movie. 84,000 ratings don't appear without some organization, so I assume some government interference. Not very subtle.
Like Dr. Zhivago (to which the director gladly admitted similarities), it is a love triangle set amid WW I. In this case, our hero is from a small town in eastern Turkey, an Armenian. He's about to leave for medical school in Istanbul, and gets engaged to another Armenian woman. Her dowry gives him the money necessary to pay for medical school. He befriends a Turk whose father is in the upper echelons of government, and he falls in love with another Armenian woman he meets at his uncle's house, where he is staying. His uncle is a rich merchant, and the woman is the nanny. But she is also having an affair with Christian Bale, who plays an American war correspondent.
The Ottomans begin rounding up Armenians after they enter the war, sending the men to work battalions to construct railways and exiling the old men, women, and children to Syria. Our hero escapes and goes back to his native town, which so far has avoided problems. His parents want him to marry his fiancée, and he's in no position to say no, so he does, despite his love for the other woman, who is now supposedly out of the picture. But of course she comes back, along with Christian Bale. His wife is killed along with other villagers, and he flees to another village. They decide to fight rather than trek across the desert to Aleppo, where the Ottomans want to exile them. This leads to the famous siege of Musa Dagh, the rescue by a French fleet, and the drowning of the girl as they are about to reach the French battleship.
So basically that's the story. It's plausible, well acted, and serves as an emotional entry to the horrors unfolding around them. As in Dr. Zhivago, the love story is necessary to tell the story-- otherwise you would have something like a boring fictionalized documentary. The historical facts seem accurate, despite our Turkish friends' protests. It's well worth your time and money.
With titles like Hotel Rwanda under his belt, Terry George is one of the few directors with the right sensibilities to handle themes of genocide with the right level of prudence and attention to detail required. With The Promise, he absolutely does not disappoint.
The whole cast is simply wonderful but wow I want to talk about Oscar Isaac. I consider him to be a gift to film. He is perhaps one of the only men in Hollywood who can play "ethnically ambiguous" characters appropriately and gather attention. From what I've heard so far, the Armenian people think he actually seems Armenian. Oscar's charm jumps off the screen once more, but his performance also captures the character's raw suffering. More than once I got chills from the anguish presented, that's how good this guy is.
I am curious to see the degree of backlash this film will receive, given how the government of Turkey has not recognized the genocide; although, I believe Turkish people should give this a chance. It also shows how there were Turkish heroes and victims caught up in the atrocities of war and they are not the real bad guys here: war is.
The Promise may not reach Hotel Rwanda's level of emotional response and the film's length may discourage some, but its historical importance, remarkable performances and beautiful photography make it a title worth watching.
Ihe salvation of the persevering few was an inspiration to the Holocaust resistance movement in Nazi occupied Europe and copies were passed around from one cell to another.
Unfortunately, the film was never distributed due to the collusion of a frightened, anti-communists State Department fearful of losing Ataturk to the Soviet sphere and a determined Turkish government to deny the "murder of a nation," as the US Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Henry Morgenthau, term the Armenian genocide, a word to be invented later by Rafael Limpkin to suit the Armenian case.
Turkish denial of the Armenian genocide continues to this day and the government of Turkey spends millions of dollars every year to hire lobbyists to influence American thinking. The thousands of negative votes on this film currently under consideration should be a dead giveaway that the Turkish government is once more active in trying to prevent the distribution of a film on the Armenian genocide. Furthermore, the Turkish government currently sponsored a film, The Ottoman Lieutenant, which gives the impression that all of the people of the Ottoman Empire in Anatolia suffered equally.
The Promise is an excellent film bordering on greatness. I urge people to see it and judge for themselves.
After watching "Mayrig", (a beautiful film about the same subject matter made by Henri Verneuil ; one of the greatest movie makers in French cinema history) many years ago, I was hoping that other movies on the Armenian Genocide would appear on screen, especially bigger productions which could come out of Hollywood and have a huge impact on people's beliefs about the first Genocide of the 20th century.
And now I'm to glad to say that my dream has finally come true. Indeed, the film lasted more than 2 hours and I don't remember having blinked a lot. I was so impressed by the cinematography, the editing and the music (not to mention the acting performances) that I couldn't see why I would give this movie something else than a 10. No words can really explain how I felt when the movie was over. After watching it, you can fully recognize that Terry George and his team did a wonderful job and that this masterpiece deserves to sit at the forefront of the Academy Awards.
I highly recommend you not to be influenced by the current ratings that have probably been given by angry Turks and Azeris who still deny this horrible truth. I encourage you to report those comments that intend to ruin the reputation of the film.
Other thing I recommend you : Do not miss this film
The film is an epic, sweeping love story set against the backdrop of the Armenian Genocide. Michael (Oscar Isaac) and Chris (Christian Bale) compete for the love of the sophisticated Ana (Charlotte Le Bon). The lead and supporting actors deliver memorable and moving performances, and Marwan Kenzari - in the role of the humanitarian Turkish Emre - steals several scenes in the film. The family story-line, led by Michael's mother (Shohreh Aghdashloo), sets the stage for the drama later in the film. The film brilliantly weaves the love story, the historical atrocities without explicit violence, and the action and suspense of the films of yesteryear - only with actors who are absolute heavyweights and who also play superheroes.
Although I wished that the film could have been a bit more detailed about the historical circumstances, it is just not likely to ever happen in 2016 for a commercial project like The Promise. The film received a thunderous ovation from the crowd, standing for several minutes with applause into the credits, and the film definitely fulfilled its "promise." People are going to be talking about this film for a long time.
During somewhat above one hour the Director and Actors in front of your eyes unfold and call to life historical setting of World War I, ethnic cleansing of Armenian population from their lands, and the death agony of the sick man of Europe - Ottoman Empire. And all this is being told on the background of a true romantic drama that conquers your hearts from Constantinople to Western Armenia, from Tokyo to LA, from Moscow to Paris.
I extend my deepest gratitude to everyone who participated in this project.
As a descendant from Turkey I was hesitant to see this film at TIFF but I'm so glad I did. It did just what the director intended: to make the audience feel the slightest pain of what the Armenian people felt. The main focus was on the many ways the Turks systemicly killed the Armenians and where it lead the characters.
Between the beautiful directing, locations, cast and script, this was most definitely one of the best films I've seen. Please go watch it when it comes near you!
The film is at times intense and emotionally draining with the horrific backdrop of the true life events of the Armenian genocide. The inclusion of some humor and romance provides sometimes much needed levity with such a difficult topic.
Great performances all around but no one shines more than Oscar Isaac as the Armenian, Michael. It was disappointing to not to see more actual Armenians in a movie so entwined with the Armenian people. Of course Christian Bale is not American but plays one as he often does. Despite all of this, the actors and director created an emotionally engaging film. For the record, I am not Armenian but the film still resonated with me.
While I have not yet seen Terry George's most critically acclaimed film Hotel Rwanda, I am now confident he was a great choice to direct. I only hope that this film gets the critical acclaim that Hotel Rwanda did, as it certainly deserves it. If you get the chance to see it, please do so.
P.S. Don't be fooled by the inordinate amount of 1 out of 10 ratings. Hundreds of these were already posted before I even entered the rush line to see the movie in its first public screening. It's disappointing that people have to be so disingenuous with something as trivial as an IMDb rating
LOVELOVELOVE, great acting, great story, great direction. Taking in refugees makes us a HUMANE society; we live in a country who take them in, let's try and keep it that way.
The vast majority of those giving this film low ratings did not see the film (only a few thousand people have seen it so far, as of the end of September 16, 2016). The reason the vast majority of them are giving the film low ratings is because they do not want people to go to film that is in part about the Armenian genocide carried out by the Turkish government during WW1. Don't be fooled, this is a great film that everyone should see.
I like the love triangle between Oscar, Ana, and Christopher as it keeps some hope and interest as you see the devastation of genocide and war. But what people don't know is the movie has very little of Christian Bale in it, as he a reporter and has a minor role which is good. He didn't ruin the story, said his lines and contributed to the movie but didn't interfere with it.
Oscar goes through everything and is a survivor, but if you think this is going to be a happy Hollywood ending or true love find each other, then wrong movie. That doesn't happen.
Ana, I think is one of the best characters and is part of the love triangle and she makes it seem real. Probably the best out of all three main actors. She is beautiful, portrays the sense of innocence, deeply in love and willing to help people, and you want her to be happy and survive, but war and genocide doesn't let that happen.
Not too sure why its a 4.3 because I was the first to see it and paid $100 for the premiere. I found it pretty good.
P.S. If they shot Christian Bale in the first 30 seconds for being a drunken idiot, probably wonder have made no difference in the movie! Ana didn't show up for the premiere and Christian Bale didn't do any Q&A, so waste of my $100.