“The Promise” is a 2016 historical drama film directed by Terry George and starring Oscar Isaac, Charlotte Le Bon and Christian Bale, set in the final years of the Ottoman Empire.
“The Promise” is about a love triangle that develops between Armenian medical student Mikael (Isaac), an American journalist based in Paris named Chris (Bale) and an Armenian-born woman raised in France, Ana (Le Bon) during the final years of the Ottoman Empire and during the Armenian Genocide.
Mikael lives in a small Armenian village in historic Armenia on the Eastern part of the Ottoman Turkish Empire, and he promises himself to a rich village woman to get 400 gold coins as a dowry. This allows him to travel to Constantinople to become a medical student where he befriends a son of a powerful general. Through his wealthy uncle Mikael also meets Ana, an Armenian woman raised in Paris, who is involved with an American reporter for the Associated Press, Chris Myers (Christian Bale). In due course, Mikael falls in love with Ana just as the Ottoman Empire begins to round up Armenians, initiating the Armenian Genocide in 1915.
With World War 1 now underway, Mikael temporarily manages to avoid conscription in the Turkish army through a medical student exemption with the help of his medical school friend, but when he tries to save his uncle from imprisonment, he is soon sent to a prison labor camp himself. Mikael eventually escapes the camp, returning to his village only to find the Turks have violently turned on their Armenian fellow townspeople. His parents, and particularly his mother, persuade him to marry his betrothed and seek refuge in a remote mountain cabin where she soon becomes pregnant. A difficult pregnancy leads Mikael to bring his wife back to the care of his mother in the village. There he learns that Ana and Christopher are at a nearby Red Cross facility and he goes to seek their help for his family to escape the imminent Turkish threat, but heading back to his village with them, they encounter an Ottoman massacre that turns out to be the entire village including his family, though his mother barely survives.
Mikael and Ana join a large group of refugees determined to fight off the Ottoman army on a mountain long enough to escape on the back side to the coast as the French Navy comes to their rescue, a scenario adapted from historical fact and in keeping with Franz Werfel’s 1933 novel, The Forty Days of Musa Dagh .
The movie premiered on September 11, 2016 at the Toronto International Film Festival. Shortly after, Open Road Films acquired distribution rights to the film and set an April 28, 2017 release date. The release date was later changed to April 21, 2017. is scheduled to be released in the United States on April 21, 2017 by Open Road Films.
“The Promise” is directed by: Terry George
Written by: Terry George, Robin Swicord
Produced by: Eric Esrailian, Mike Medavoy, William Horberg, Ralph Winter, Denise O’Dell