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A Film Diary

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Watched: 17 October

An understandably earnest historical and romantic drama that focuses partly on the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and partly on a love triangle that evolves between Oscar Isaac’s kind-hearted Armenian medical student, an Armenian woman who has been raised in Paris (Charlotte Le Bon) and a noble American journalist with a penchant for booze (Christian Bale). Funded entirely by an American businessman of Armenian descent (it had a whopping $90m budget), The Promise has plenty of anachronistic, grandiose swagger in terms of its sweeping cinematography, which ocasionally brings to mind the epic adventure movies of the 1950s and 1960s, and there are committed (if ultimately forgettable) performances by the three leads. The screenplay is packed with wartime romance cliches and stock characters but the overall piece is lifted just above average by the three main actors and the no-expense-spared approach. (***)

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