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The Promise review: Sluggish tale of a love triangle

 

By Damon Smith

Mikael Boghosian (Oscar Isaac) is an apothecary in the village of Sirun and yearns to study medicine in Constantinople.

Unable to fund the three-year course himself, he agrees to marry his neighbour's daughter Maral (Angela Sarafyan) in exchange for a dowry of 400 gold coins that will finance studies in the capital.

Separated from his bride-to-be, Mikael befriends Emre Ogan (Marwan Kenzari), whose father is a powerful figure in the Turkish military, and he falls head over heels in love with his uncle's houseguest, Ana Khesarian (Charlotte Le Bon), a fellow Armenian.

Unfortunately, Mikael is already promised to Maral and Ana has a partner, an American journalist called Chris Myers (Christian Bale), who is reporting on the escalating tensions in Turkey.

Promise is a sluggish rifle through pages of disputed recent history, which aligns itself with the Armenians as they search for an escape from their war-ravaged nation.

Three stars

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