Summary: Set during the last days of the Ottoman Empire, The Promise follows a love triangle between Michael, a brilliant medical student, the beautiful and sophisticated Ana, and Chris – a renowned American journalist based in Paris.
**This film is kind of hard to talk about but I will do my best.
The Cast and characters. We meet quite a few people but I’m going to stick to mentioning the three leads.
Oscar Isaac as Mikael Boghosian. He is the stand out, hands down. I love Oscar Isaac and I wonder if this was a pet project because I think he’s way to good for it. Mikael is an apothecary in his hometown, he goes to a city to be a medical student and he meets a few friends. He’s staying with his uncle and he meets Ana and immediately he’s smitten with her. WWI begins and he tries to avoid being drafted by getting a “medical student” exemption with the help of his friend. But that doesn’t last and he is sent to a prison labor camp. He manages to escape and finds his way back home. It seems like life has gotten together but the war has found him. So without going into more detail about the story, I think the amount of emotions Oscar Isaac puts into this character is fantastic. He starts off as this hopeful young man, who falls in love and we see him fall and it’s all downhill from there. Oscar Isaac has this magnetism that makes him stand out in anything he’s in. He’s charismatic and sympathetic and when he in emotional moments, man. He’s just so good. Again, I think he’s too good for the film.
Charlotte Le Bon as Ana Khesarian. She’s an Armenian woman who was raised in Paris. We first meet her at Mikael’s uncle’s house, she’s teaching his cousins how to dance. She is pretty, exotic in that she’s traveled outside of their home, she’s strong and is happy to claim her Armenian roots. She is strong and tries very hard to help those in need. However, it does feel at times that she is just there to be part of the triangle, or to be the object of Mikael’s eye. I think the actress is great but the character doesn’t remain that interesting. It comes and goes.
Christian Bale as Chris Myers. Christian Bale is always good I think, he’s an American reporter who is in Turkey writing articles about what’s happening. When the war kicks off, he gets involved and he tries chronicle the events, he even gets involved with trying to help orphans escape. He’s dating Ana. He also seems to have a few issues of his own in the beginning. He’s an interesting character, at first they make him come off as a “villain” but that goes away. I think Bale is good here, he’s kind of a low key character, they all are actually. Chris comes off as a brash, drunk American but as the film progresses, we see a smart man who tries to help those fleeing while trying to tell their story and stay alive himself. I almost thought he would be a bad guy in the love triangle but I didn’t think that happened.