“The Promise” doesn’t officially open in theaters until Friday. But on IMDb, a website where people can rate movies, the film has received more than 120,000 ratings — nearly 62,000 of them the lowest: one-star.
The ratings have nothing to do with the quality of the film, as it’s almost certain that most people haven’t seen the movie yet. Instead, a group of Internet trolls gathering on a Turkish message board decided to try sinking “The Promise” with bad reviews.
The film — starring Charlotte Le Bon, Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac, and directed by Terry George of “Hotel Rwanda” fame — focuses on a fictional love-triangle between the main characters. Two of the characters play Armenians, while the other plays an American photojournalist.
That sounds like standard silver screen fare, but it’s set against the backdrop of the mass killing of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians in the final years of the Ottoman Empire, beginning in 1915. Worldwide, at least 26 countriesrecognize the deaths as genocide, a term coined in the 1940s by Polish lawyer Raphael Lemkin, who investigated the massacre, to describe the deliberate attempt to exterminate groups.
To Armenians, Americans of Armenian heritage and Turks, the facts and especially the nomenclature are deeply emotional issues. Turkey has long argued that the deaths were not genocide, the death toll has been inflated and that the casualties were victims of civil war and unrest. It’s a crime in Turkey, called “insulting Turkishness,” to “even raise the issue of what happened to the Armenians,” according to the New York Times.
You can read the rest at the Washington Post.