I was initially going to call back to a repeated formulation of mine by describing Terry George’s The Promise as “Masterpiece Theatre (Terry’s specialty!), Armenian-Genocide-with-a-ginormous-budget edition,” but honestly, likening this schlock to a quasi-hallowed institution feels unfair to the latter.
Stories of this woefully ignored tragedy need to be told, but doing so utilizing a much-mocked genre’s throwback aesthetics and tired tropes — to which most audiences are largely desensitized nowadays — cannot have the proper contemporary impact.
Since The Promise harkens back to sweeping epics of lore without actually commenting on their now-exhausted constructions, it should’ve at the very least been shot using the form’s customary film; the cinematography is admittedly lush (if derivative), but the artistically nonsensical and anachronistic digital diminishes the overall effect.
Not that the change would’ve made the movie tolerable, but still…