It is 1914. As the Great War looms, the vast Ottoman Empire is crumbling. Constantinople (Istanbul), its once vibrant, multicultural capital is about to be consumed by chaos. Michael Boghosian (Oscar Isaac), arrives in the cosmopolitan hub as a medical student determined to bring modern medicine back to Siroun, his ancestral village in Southern Turkey where Turkish Muslims and Armenian Christians have lived side by side for centuries.
Photo-journalist Chris Myers (Christian Bale), has come here only partly to cover geo-politics. He is mesmerized by his love for Ana (Charlotte le Bon), an Armenian artist he has accompanied from Paris after the sudden death of her father. When Michael meets Ana, their shared Armenian heritage sparks an attraction that explodes into a romantic rivalry between the two men even as Michael hangs on to a promise from his past.
After the Turks join the war on the German side, the Empire turns violently against its own ethnic minorities. Despite their conflicts, everyone must find a way to survive — even as monumental events envelope their lives.
The description says it all, but while some may shout Oscar bait on this trailer like we have with many others, that’s not always a bad thing. The period pieces are rolling through with force from directors and actors we don’t normally see (often enough) take on challenging roles of terror, turmoil, and love. With two heavyweights like Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac at the helm, I can’t not be excited.
This comes from a director that gave us the heart shattering Hotel Rwanda and if this film breathes any bit of that unrelenting emotion into this film, I can’t imagine people coming out of the theater dry eyed. It’s a different story from the Great War that we have never really seen before and instead of focusing on the trench warfare or battlefields we commonly see in movies, we are getting a different perspective, and that in of itself is a reason why I am so enamored with this trailer.
It seems to take the angles of a love-triangle, but even with that possibly happening it feels organic and naturally occurring and that’s because it is. The fact this is based off of true events makes for the story to be that much more visceral and engaging with it’s performances as well as visual elements. Color me excited to see these actors take on a period piece of what appears to be epic proportions.
VERDICT: “Will see”