AYF Junior Reviews ‘The Promise’

Still from the movie "The Promise" with Oscar Isaac (right) and Christian Bale
Still from the movie "The Promise" with Oscar Isaac (right) and Christian Bale

Still from the movie “The Promise” with Oscar Isaac (right) and Christian Bale

BY TONY ORDOUKHANIAN, AYF Juniors Burbank Gaidzag Chapter
John Muir Middle School, 8th grade, 14 years old

It’s 2017 and we finally get a movie that portrays the Armenian Genocide in such a deep and realistic way. I saw this movie on April 28, 2017 with the Armenian Youth Federation Juniors–Burbank “Gaidzag” Chapter and the one question I had in my mind was, “Will I cry during or after the movie at all?” I predicted that I wouldn’t and, yes, I did not shed any tears. I even thought my friends would cry but strangely enough, I wasn’t the only one. However, did the movie have incredibly emotional scenes? Yes.

First of all, let’s talk about the good things in this film. I was really astonished that Oscar Issac, who is a Guatemalan actor, could nail the role of Mikael Boghosian so perfectly, along with the makeup and accent he had. Christian Bale, who is British, gave an incredible performance of Chris Myers, who was very brave and incredibly helpful in the movie. Charlotte Le Bon was also very good with her character during the movie and was so important to Mikael and Chris. Terry George’s directing was excellent with how he lead the movie and the way it should look. Speaking of how the movie should look, the production design of Turkey and Armenia was the best part of the movie, never losing the way the time was. I don’t know if it was visual effects that helped it look real or if it was just all designed in today’s lands, but it was flat-out perfect. George captured a lot of scenes that really made me sad and emotional about what happened.


There was one scene that was the most sad out of all of them. It showed a group of Armenians slaughtered near a river. As soon as the scene appeared, the audience was in a huge gasp of what they saw, including me. There was even a scene that started the whole viewings of the genocide. It showed people that were hung with signs on them along with dead people in different spots.

Now that we have reviewed the many good parts of the film, let me tell you the flaws. One huge flaw in the movie was that many cuts to the next scenes were having lighting issues that bothered my eyes a lot. For example, when one scene takes place during the night and it is finished there, it jumps too quickly to the next scene that takes place during daytime, which can be very bright to look at. (Again, that’s a personal flaw for my thoughts on the film). Also, it would’ve been a bit better if the movie mentioned a little more about the Greeks and Assyrians in the genocide because even though it mainly focused on the Armenians at this time period, there were Greeks and Assyrians in this struggle too. The final flaw to point out in the film was Ana’s relationship with Chris and Mikael. I couldn’t tell if she loved Chris or Mikael more. I hope she wasn’t even cheating on either one of them because that would be crazy to think about and watch. Another movie that did this flaw was 2016’s “La La Land,” as Emma Stone’s character Mia is mainly in love with Greg, although we know that she hangs out with Sebastian more often. But the problem was that we couldn’t tell who she really is in love with, or worse, who she is cheating on.

For the first time in a long time, “The Promise” delivers a film about what the Armenian Genocide is to the world, to prove that it did happen, to stop the denialists in Turkey, and to demand justice for Turkey to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide after 102 years of denial. Oscar Issac states, “To my shame, I didn’t know about the Armenian Genocide before I got the script. To read that 1.5 million Armenians perished at the hand of their own government, it was shocking.” Celebrities, such as long time recognizer George Clooney, Cher, Elton John, Sylvester Stallone, Don Cheadle, Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Gosling, and Heidi Clum, have vowed to keep the promise just like the main actors and actresses in the movie. My rating on the movie is an 8.6/10, 90/100, and an A-. This is my personal rating and I rate it as someone who watches films very well and carefully. I hope nobody hates me because it is an A- rather than an A or A+, but please if you have not seen “The Promise,” I encourage you with all my heart to go see it. It is one of the most capturing movies of a lifetime.


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  1. anonymous said:

    You can rate the film whatever you wanna rate it as. I heard mixed reviews about this film, I hear that they didn’t put enough gore or violence into it, the reason being that the director wanted this movie to be shown in schools. I also hear that the love triangle distracted from the genocide, I guess it was just the decision of the director.

    I will be honest though, the last movie I watched about the Armenian Genocide that I cried for days about was “The Lark Farm”, when I first started watching it, I didn’t think I would cry because this event happened so long ago….I was wrong, really wrong. I managed to watch it a second time with my grandma, made me feel better and I didn’t cry that time around.

    However, people need to understand that just because an event happened long ago and is shown in a movie, you aren’t safe from shedding a tear. I cried for days after watching Doctor Zhivago another event in history that happened long ago.

    Whether or not we shed tears for the same kind of movies, I cannot say. I watched Schindler’s List, did not shed a tear, but I would never watch it again, especially after watching movies like “The Lark Farm”. Especially after I have studied the Armenian Genocide.

    So don’t feel too guilty for not shedding a tear, watched Ararat and did not shed a tear. Watched 1915 and did not shed a tear, heck I even watched that PBS Armenian Genocide documentary and did not shed a tear.