What’s it about?
WWI saw many atrocities, but the Armenian genocide is one that is fading from history. That story is told via the romantic rivalry between a medical student and a renowned journalist with Anna, an Armenian freshly returned from France.
What did we think?
Stephen Scott says: A poignant and timely reminder of where racism / intolerance / bigotry leads to. Luckily the love triangle doesn’t drag you in completely or the heartbreak of what happens to their families would tear you apart. Genocide is brutal and horrific, and The Promise pulls no punches in that regard, at times the stark brutal reality of war borders on traumatising. The romance is a sugar coating to attract audiences, which hopefully works, because this is a story that deserves to be seen by the masses.
A topic as complex as genocide cannot be discussed in a two paragraph review – or a two hour movie.
Ever since Homer’s The Odyssey there have been love stories set in wartime – the connection with a pure emotion allows us to experience the atrocities of war as a brutal reminder of why we should never allow fear of foreign ideas / people result in hatred and death.
Sadly, the Turkish government still refuses to acknowledge the Armenian genocide that the crumbling Ottoman Empire attempted to cloak by WWI, unlike the German government (and populace) who condone the acts of the Nazis against the Jews, or the Bosnian Serbs who today are equally as horrified at the murders of muslims and Croats, or the Australian people at their despicable attempts to wipe out the indigenous population.
But this is not a story about Turks VS Armenians – it could be applied to any act of hatred or greed: Nazis VS Jews / Serbs VS Croats / Catholics VS Protestants / English VS native populations of America, Australia, India, China.
History is there to teach us – it should be acknowledged so that wounds can heal, and that mistakes are not made again.
This is a small planet. We should all be able to live on it peacefully.
Footnote: the movie’s title track is by a grunge legend with an impressive movie soundtrack history: he was the first American to write and perform a James Bond theme song (You Know My Name from Casino Royale), was nominated for a Golden Globe for The Keeper from Machine Gun Preacher, and featured in one of the top 5 grossing movies of all time (Live To Rise – closing credit music for The Avengers). RIP Chris Cornell.