The Promise (2016) Friday, 10 April 2020

The Promise (2016)

Additional Info

  • Rating:

    M: Mature themes and violence.

  • The pitch:

    Trust no-one.

  • Starring:

    Oscar Isaac, Charlotte Le Bon, Christian Bale, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Marwan Kenzari, Angela Sarafyan, Tom Hollander, Numan Acar, Jean Reno, James Cromwell, Roman Mitichyan

  • Directed by:

    Terry George

  • Running time:

    133 minutes

  • Rated:

    M (Australia), 12A (UK), PG-13 (USA)

  • VIOLENCE/GORE:

    Murder/suicide (TNT explosion/people thrown through the air). People are shot, driven into desert and killed (including women and children), placed on trial for treason, malnourished, crammed into train cars, hit with objects (vegetables/baton/firearm/log/rocks), pursued, punched, kicked, tackled, forced to knees, pistol-whipped, pushed into walls, forced into army/labour camps, executed, kicked to the ground, threatened, dragged by the hair, knocked out of lifeboats, drowned (graphic). A man falls from a moving train into a river. Story of men gunned down with machine guns after completeing work with survivors spared to dump bodies in ravine. Story of wife stabbed and pregnant belly ripped open to remove unborn child from womb. Story of orphans whose parents were murdered in front of them. Villages burned, explosions, coach on fire, possessions looted, houses trashed. Protests/rioting (flag burned, shop windows smashed, shops set alight). Attempt at forcing someone to sign a false confession of espionage. Story of mother and son fighting. Bribery. World War I setting (military personnel/warships/parades, conscription, etc). Destroyed boats, real photos from the war. Arguing, screaming. Arrests, killing, massacre mentioned. References to person dying in the Civil War, to World War II (Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour). Blood/gore: Pile of corpses. Dead bodies strung up with messages around their necks. Cadaver opened by medical students/spleen removed causing excrement to spurt out of body. Bloody heads/bodies/clothes/bandages/objects. Cuts on hands/faces, man on crutches (leg missing), leg wounds, neck wounds. Broken ankle, bruising, split lip, bandages, fainting. Bullet wounds on dead bodies. First aid stations with nurses attending to wounds/patients on cots; field surgery (bullet removed from neck). Funeral rites heard. Anatomy diagrams seen in background. Reference to bullet still lodged in face. Reference to 0.5 million deaths, 4000 people rescued from Turkish-Armenia conflict.

  • SEX/NUDITY:

    Two scenes showing couples in bed together beneath sheets (sex implied). Kissing, flirting, hand-holding, hugging, undressing, slow dancing. Skimpy clothing, belly-dancing outfit, cleavage, bare shoulders, shirtless men, man in nightshirt. A man says "Female anatomy, that's my passion". Infidelity.

  • VICES/DRUG USE:

    Making and administering potions for illnesses (apothecary). Alcohol (wine, champagne, absinthe). Intoxication. Smoking (cigar). Reference to opium dens.

  • LANGUAGE:

    S-word. Racist slurs and name-calling (Armenian dog, Armenian's are a tumour in our midst, witch, baron, infidel, etc). Religious exclamations (oh Jesus, thank you Jesus, thank God she died, oh my God, etc), religious ceremonies and iconography.

  • THEMES:

    World War I, Ottoman Empire, genocide, massacre, spies, death, love triangles, grief, labour camps, Turkish massacre of Armenians, religion, persecution, debts, infidelity, atrocity, journalism, war reporters, survival.

  • HIDDEN EXTRAS:

    Dead family, dead parents, dead father, dead wife, dead villagers. Dead mother, dead father (suicide), dead ex-wife (thank God she died), woman married off for dowry (400 coins) mentioned. Horses, dogs. Vomiting. Children begging in street. A woman suffers a difficult pregnancy (malnourishment/need for vitamins).

  • CRITICS LIKE:

    Involving, well-intentioned, solid, earnest, event-stuffed, didactic. Extravagant/colourful/ultra-crisp/arresting/eye-pleasing visuals, vivid historical recreation of Constantinople, watchable cast, solid direction, horrifying/worthy subject matter.

  • CRITICS DON'T LIKE:

    Clichéd, soapy, dusty, familiar, workmanlike, predictable, stuffy, musty, stagnant, contrived, boring, flat, stifling, slow-paced, monotonous, fragmented, disappointing, weak, atonal, turgid. Some hammy scenes/dialogue, little chemistry between leads, unnecessary romantic subplot, underdeveloped protagonists, threadbare plot.

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