The Water Diviner

"OK"

The Water Diviner Review


For his directing debut, Russell Crowe tells a story so compelling that it almost obscures the rather clunky filmmaking. Based on the hint of a true story, the events are fascinating, moving and often thrilling, with some strikingly well-staged sequences along the way. But the earnest tone is sometimes distracting, as is an unnecessary romantic subplot that makes the whole movie feel like pure fiction.

It opens in 1919 Australia, where Connor (Crowe) is grieving the loss of his three sons in the 1915 battle of Gallipoli. Having vowed to bring them home before his wife dies, and with nothing else to do now, Connor heads to Turkey to find them. But the local British officer (Jai Courtney) doesn't want him anywhere near the battlefield, where experts are still identifying the remains of fallen soldiers. So with the help of local officer Hasan (Yilmaz Erdogan), Connor makes his own way to the site and, using his skills at discovering underwater wells, finds the bodies of two of his sons. Then he learns that the third (Ryan Corr) might have survived.

Alongside this story, Connor has a series of tentative romantic interludes with Ayshe (Olga Kurylenko), the hot clerk at his Constantinople hotel, where she lives with her precocious 10-year-old son (Dylan Georgiades) while waiting for her husband to be declared one of the war dead. But if this happens, she will have to become her leery brother-in-law's third wife. This sideroad is so soapy that it constantly derails the rest of the movie, stealing focus from the more intriguing political tensions and Connor's own emotional journey. At least Crowe and Kurylenko are solid in their roles, even generating some chemistry in their tentative, unnecessary scenes. And Erdogan and Cem Yilmaz (as a rival Turkish officer) ground things nicely, connecting the rest of the film with the grisly well-recreated battle scenes.

The problem is that all of these plot strands struggle to come together either into a sprawling epic or a compelling single narrative. As a director, Crowe brings the various settings to life with grit and energy, from the expansive Outback to the busy streets of Constantinople to the harrowing skirmishes that break out in the Turkish countryside. But in the end, the film's real strength is as a history lesson to honour the Australian soldiers who gave their lives in the Great War. And with the central story of one man trying to find closure for his family, the film ultimately finds its emotional kick.


The Water Diviner Featurette

 



The Water Diviner

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 111 mins

In Theaters: Friday 26th December 2014

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Production compaines: Seven West Media, Fear of God Films, Hopscotch Features, RatPac Entertainment, Seven Group Holdings

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 79%
Fresh: 15 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 7.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Troy Lum, , Keith Rodger

Starring: as Lt-Col Cyril Hughes, as Connor, as Ayshe, as Natalia, as Father McIntyre, Ryan Corr as Art, as Eliza, Allen Tiller as Turkish National (extra), Cem Yılmaz as Jemal, as Imam, Yılmaz Erdoğan as Major Hasan, as Fatma, Birol Tarkan Yildiz as Turkish Officer, as Captain Charles Brindley, as Greeves, as Colonel Demergelis, Canan Ergüder as Red Cross Nurse, James Fraser as Edward, as Omer, Salih KALYON as Dr. Ibrahim, Aidan Liam Smith as Young Edward, Benedict Hardie as Dawson, Christopher Sommers as Sgt Tucker, Michael Gilmour as Anzac Soldier, Jack Douglas Patterson as Young Art, Ben Norris as Young Henry, Dylan Georgiades as Orhan, Ben O'Toole as Henry, Fatih Ugurlu as Omer's Man, Robert Byron as Walker, Ümit Demirbas as Omar's Man, Yunus Emre Sogukkanli as Omar's Man, Allen Tiller as Turkish National (Extra), Paul Chapman as Turkish Nationalist Soldier, James Elliott as Greek Soldier, Darren McGuiness as ANZAC Solider, Özcan Özdemir as Soldier

Also starring:

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