Some might argue that it is too early to start talking about the 2018 Academy Awards. After all, the 2017 Awards were only last weekend, and the much talked about Best Picture flub is sure to keep people talking for a while. However, soon attention will shift to the future. Open Road Films looks to start off Oscar season in April with the release of The Promise, a film centered on the Armenian genocide from Academy Award winning director Terry George.
The film stars Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) as Mikael, an Armenian medical student who falls in love with Ana (The Walk's Charlotte Le Bon), the girlfriend of Associated Press reporter Christopher Myers (The Dark Knight's Christian Bale). The love triangle is soon the least of their problems as violence erupts, force the three to confront the horrors of genocide and navigate the disaster in order to survive and, as Mikael says at the end of the trailer, "build a future together."
The trailer looks visually stunning, though, as we addressed in our coverage of the first trailer for The Promise, George's decision to cast a Latino man and a French-Canadian actress as the two Armenian leads is an odd choice. Too often, films centered on love triangles will devolve into saccharine or overwrought stories. Early reviews of the film following it's premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival were mostly positive, so hopefully George was able to avoid the narrative pitfalls that brought down films such as Pearl Harbor and deliver a movie that packs a punch on both a thematic and personal level.
Unfortunately, this has already become a film marked by controversy - namely, pushback from bloggers who are denying the genocide. Following the film's three screenings at TIFF, over 80,000 reviews were posted on IMDB. A majority of these reviews were negative, though they failed to actually detail specifics of the movie. By the time IMDB finally took down the reviews, only 32 actual reviews of the film remained. The Huffington Post recently published an article on the hate campaign specifically targeted at The Promise. Though it remains to be seen until The Promise hits theaters, the controversy might come to overshadow the film itself.
Regardless of the controversy, the movie will at least showcase strong performances from Isaac and Bale, who have already generated award buzz for their work. The trailer is emotional and intense, and hopefully the film will avoid turning into schmaltz and instead be a touching portrait of humanity surviving even in the worst of conditions.
The Promise debuts in theaters April 21, 2017.
Source: Open Road Films