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The Promise

The Promise

Directed by Terry George. Starring Oscar Isaac, Charlotte Le Bon, Christian Bale, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Angela Sarafyan, James Cromwell, Marwan Kenzari, Rade Serbedzija, Tom Hollander, Igal Naor, Jean Reno. (2017, PG-13, 132 min.)

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., April 21, 2017

Comparisons between Terry George’s new film The Promise and his 2004 award-winner Hotel Rwanda are evident from the outset. This director, who is fond of telling intimate stories set against the sweep of history, reprises the formula here, again finding the human drama amid a modern genocidal atrocity. If the formula doesn’t work as well this time out, it may just be a matter of the pattern getting too creaky and predictable. Yet the film and its harrowing depiction of the too-little-examined genocide of the Armenian Turks – an extermination at the beginning of World War I that the country of Turkey will not admit to this day – is a respectable offering. Even if the idea of giving focus to a romantic triangle as the narrative lure for a broader depiction of ethnic cleansing is a disheartening comment on the nature of our film consumption, The Promise far outdistances the other recent love story set against the Armenian genocide: The Ottoman Lieutenant, a subpar movie in every respect.

The inclusion of Hollywood stars, Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale, as two of the points in the movie’s love triangle will certainly boost box-office interest. Wispy Charlotte Le Bon (who played the girlfriend of Philippe Petit in The Walk) plays their love interest. In 1914, Mikael (Isaac) is a young Armenian pharmacist who wants to become a doctor and decides to marry a village girl (Sarafyan) and use the dowry to pay for his education. At his uncle’s home in Constantinople, he meets Ana (Le Bon), who tutors his young cousins. An Armenian who has lived abroad, she has returned to her homeland to reconnect with her roots, although Mikael soon learns that she is also the steady companion of the American journalist Chris Myers (Bale), an AP reporter covering the mass exterminations in the hope of pricking the American conscience to take sides in the conflict (a reluctance that marks America’s noninvolvement in Turkish politics to this day). Although the love story anchors the film (whose screenplay was written by The Jane Austen Book Club’s Robin Swicord), it does not clutter the foreground. The emotional underpinnings of The Promise are fused with the atrocities shown onscreen rather than the question of who wins the girl.

George effectively uses large swaths of extras to depict the magnitude of a village’s exodus march from their homes and the mass executions. Ironically, some of the film’s most emotional scenes belong to the slender storyline of Turkish rich kid Emre (Kenzari), whose two attempts to help his non-Turk friends results in drastic personal consequences. Numerous reports have come in regarding meddling by Turkish partisans who have not seen the film but, for political reasons, are willing to badmouth and downgrade the film’s rating on review aggregate sites. (Reports also indicate that some sites have enacted remedies for the defamation.) The Promise may not be the greatest movie of its type since Hotel Rwanda, but purchasing a ticket to this solid if predictable movie is a sure way to thumb one’s nose at deniers of the Armenian Genocide.

Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar

1120 S. Lamar  512/861-7040

drafthouse.com/theater/south-lamar

FRI APR 28

11:55am, 3:10

SAT APR 29

12:10, 3:10

SUN APR 30

11:55am, 6:25

MON MAY 01

11:55am, 3:10

TUE MAY 02

3:10
AFA: 11:55am

WED MAY 03

11:55am, 3:10

Barton Creek Square (AMC)

2901 South Capital of Texas Hwy  512/306-1991

www.amctheatres.com

Matinee discounts available before 4pm daily. Bring Your Baby matinees the first Tuesday of every month.

FRI APR 28

CC/DVS: 12:45, 6:45

SAT APR 29

CC/DVS: 12:45, 6:45

SUN APR 30

CC/DVS: 12:45, 6:45

MON MAY 01

CC/DVS: 12:45, 8:45

TUE MAY 02

CC/DVS: 12:45, 8:45

WED MAY 03

CC/DVS: 12:45, 8:45

Cinemark Hill Country Galleria 14

12812 Hill Country Blvd., Bee Cave  800/326-3264

www.cinemark.com/theater_showtimes.asp?theater_id=377

FRI APR 28

digital: 12:15, 3:35, 6:55, 10:10

SAT APR 29

digital: 12:15, 3:35, 6:55, 10:10

SUN APR 30

digital: 10:40am, 6:55, 10:10

MON MAY 01

digital: 12:15, 3:35, 6:55, 10:10

TUE MAY 02

digital: 12:15, 3:35, 10:10

WED MAY 03

digital: 10:30am, 10:10

City Lights Theatre

420 Wolf Ranch Parkway, Georgetown  512/868-9922

FRI APR 28

9:50am, 1:05, 4:15, 7:30, 10:25

SAT APR 29

9:50am, 1:05, 4:15, 7:30, 10:25

SUN APR 30

1:05, 4:15, 7:30, 10:25

MON MAY 01

1:05, 4:15, 7:30, 10:25

TUE MAY 02

1:05, 4:15, 7:30, 10:25

WED MAY 03

1:05, 4:15, 7:30, 10:25

THU MAY 04

1:05, 4:15

Flix Brewhouse

2200 S. I-35, Round Rock  512/244-3549

www.flixbrewhouse.com/round-rock

FRI APR 28

Reserved Seating: 6:30, 9:15

SAT APR 29

Reserved Seating: 6:30, 9:15

SUN APR 30

Reserved Seating: 6:30, 9:15

MON MAY 01

Reserved Seating: 6:30, 9:15

TUE MAY 02

Reserved Seating: 6:30, 9:15

WED MAY 03

Reserved Seating: 6:30, 9:15

THU MAY 04

Reserved Seating: 6:30, 9:30

Gateway Theatre

9700 Stonelake  512/416-5700

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

FRI APR 28

CC/DVS: 3:45, 9:55

SAT APR 29

CC/DVS: 3:45, 9:55

SUN APR 30

CC/DVS: 3:45, 9:55

MON MAY 01

CC/DVS: 3:45, 9:55

TUE MAY 02

CC/DVS: 3:45, 9:55

WED MAY 03

CC/DVS: 3:45, 9:55

iPic Theaters Austin

3225 Amy Donovan Plaza  512/568-3400

www.ipic.com

FRI APR 28

2:35, 9:15

SAT APR 29

2:35, 9:15

SUN APR 30

2:35, 9:15

MON MAY 01

2:35, 9:15

TUE MAY 02

2:35, 9:15

WED MAY 03

2:35, 9:15

Schulman Theatres Lost Pines 8

1600 Chestnut St, Bastrop  512/321-0123

www.schulmantheatres.com

FRI APR 28

7:25, 10:35

SAT APR 29

7:25, 10:35

SUN APR 30

7:25, 10:35

MON MAY 01

7:25, 10:35

TUE MAY 02

7:25, 10:35

WED MAY 03

7:25, 10:35

Metropolitan

901 Little Texas  512/447-0101

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

FRI APR 28

CC/DVS: 12:20, 7:20

SAT APR 29

CC/DVS: 12:20, 7:20

SUN APR 30

CC/DVS: 12:20, 7:20

MON MAY 01

CC/DVS: 12:20, 7:20

TUE MAY 02

CC/DVS: 12:20, 7:20

WED MAY 03

CC/DVS: 12:20, 7:20

THU MAY 04

CC/DVS: 12:20, 7:20

Moviehouse & Eatery

8300 N. FM 620, Bldg. B  512/501-3520

www.themoviehouse.com/austin/

FRI APR 28

10:50am, 5:20

SAT APR 29

10:50am, 5:20

SUN APR 30

10:50am, 5:20

MON MAY 01

10:50am, 5:20

TUE MAY 02

10:50am, 5:20

THU MAY 04

10:50am, 5:20

ShowBiz Cinemas 8 Marble Falls

2600 Hwy 281 North, Marble Falls

Call theatre for August 22-23 showtimes.

FRI APR 28

11:45am, 4:45, 7:35

SAT APR 29

11:45am, 4:45, 7:35

SUN APR 30

11:45am, 4:45, 7:35

MON MAY 01

4:45, 7:35

TUE MAY 02

4:45, 7:35

WED MAY 03

4:45, 7:35

THU MAY 04

4:45, 7:35

Starplex 12 San Marcos

1250 Wonder World Drive, San Marcos  512/805-8000

FRI APR 28

2:05, 7:25

SAT APR 29

2:05, 7:25

SUN APR 30

2:05, 7:25

MON MAY 01

2:05, 7:25

TUE MAY 02

2:05, 7:25

WED MAY 03

2:05, 7:25
READ MORE
More Terry George Films
Reservation Road
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Josh Rosenblatt, Oct. 26, 2007

Hotel Rwanda
Don Cheadle, in the finest performance of his career, headlines this true-life story about the "Oskar Schindler of Kigali, Rwanda" during the massacres of 1994.

Marc Savlov, Jan. 14, 2005

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

The Promise, Terry George, Oscar Isaac, Charlotte Le Bon, Christian Bale, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Angela Sarafyan, James Cromwell, Marwan Kenzari, Rade Serbedzija, Tom Hollander, Igal Naor, Jean Reno

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