Stories that take place during the time of war can be some of the tougher ones to hear and see. Most of those stories take years to come out as war brings out the worst in people. The ones though that can make great movies as they shed light on a time and place that many have been forgotten.There is always anger and hate and most of all love that showed who the true heroes and villains were.
It is often said that all is fair in love and war, but what is really true is that love might be the most important thing when it comes to war. Mikael Pogosian (Oscar Isaac) is an aspiring doctor who must travel to Constantinople to learn his skill. While there he meets Ana (Charlotte Le Bon), a women who is teaching his cousin’s daughters how to dance. Soon Ana and Mikael start spending more time together but Ana is not alone. Ana is with Chris Myers (Christian Bale) who is a reporter from America with the Associate Press. It doesn’t take long for Ana and Mikael to express their feelings for one another but that takes a back seat as the Ottoman Empire is drawn into war. Soon the three of them are trying to escape with their lives as their world around them falls apart.
When is comes to stories like this, there is never a question of the history and power of the story. To watch as stories like this unfold, it helps reaffirm the human sprit and shows the we as people can make it through the worst of storms and come out on the other side. While the source material is interesting where it starts to fall apart a little is in the telling. It is easy to believe some stories just are not meant to be turned into movies. “The Promise” falls in that category, but it is not from the lack of trying to make it worth your time in a movie theater. With Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale leading the charge it is hard not to get excited to what you will see. The problem is that there is no passion for the material, and because of its subject they have no charisma. Because of that, the film feels like it has no life to it, even as they go through the horrors of war.
With Taylor George (In the Name of the Father) behind this it seems that he might be the perfect person to tell this story. It would seem that this film should have an epic feeling to it, but instead you are left thinking this was a epic waste of your time. With a film that calls itself a story about a love triangle set during the last days of the Ottoman Empire, you leave feeling like the love story was more of a side note to everything else going around it. For me telling the story without the small love story would have been better, but maybe that change couldn’t save this movie. I just wish this came together a little better, as the story needs to be told, but maybe in the end even being flawed in its delivery, the message is what counts here.