The Water Diviner stands out because of its ability to keep the storyline intact, combined with the acting prowess. The film is set during the tumultuous times in Turkey and it keeps the fighting sequences in a most orderly manner. Directed by Russell Crowe,  this film further underlines his credentials. A 1981 film Gallipoli starring Mel Gibson has war as its main focus, but this film focuses on the events happening after the battle.

The film, adapted from a book by Andrew Anastasios and Andrew Knight, captures the trauma of a family following World War 1. After his three sons, Art, Henry and Edward go missing, Joshua Connor (Russell Crowe) goes in search of them, embarking on a voyage to Turkey. There he meets Ayshe (Olga Kurylenko), herself fighting the trauma of losing her husband. Joshua visits the battlefield of Gallipoli, where the Anzac (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps) troops famously evacuated in 1915. Lt-Col Cyril Hughes (Jai Courtney) and Major Hasan (Yilmaz Erdogan) assist Joshua in his search, getting mixed results.


The story begins on a brisk note, setting up the plot quickly. A lot more would have been expected from the second half, which had a whole lot of melodramatic moments, letting the film down. The film captures major historic events in the most brutal and heart-wrenching manner. A major part of the film takes place in Turkey. And the shots look aesthetically pleasing. The editing seems patchy in the film, with creative cuts being used to a minimum. Background music is noisy, with cinematography being the saving grace. The scene on the battlefield between Art (Ryan Corr), Henry (Ben O’Toole) and Edward (James Fraser) reminds everybody of the necessities in war and what is right in war.
Russell Crowe rewinds his Gladiator days of heroism in the film, playing the quiet yet strong father. Olga Kurylenko as Ayshe, in her limited role should have been given more screen time. Yilmaz Erdogan as Major Hassan befriends Joshua and enforces Crowe’s character in the film. The film pays respect to soldiers and their families who were exposed to the horrors of war, and that’s where the film succeeds.


Why should you watch the film?


Russell Crowe, the director outplays the Russell Crowe actor in this film. Watch it for the performance of the entire cast.
-Shlomoh Samuel

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