I had some time tonight to catch Russell Crowe's "The Water Diviner" in New Orleans so I opted to do so. Enjoy the review and regular reviews should return sometime next week.
Russell Crowe stars in the film as Connor, a father who is desperately trying to locate his three sons four years after the events of the Battle of Gallipoli. Going into this film, I knew nothing about the premise outside of the fact that Russell Crowe stared in it. Crowe does a fantastic job in this film portraying a father's pain as he tries to discover the fate of his children. I believed his pain and the journey he went on made enough sense to allow the plot to work.
Olga Kurylenko plays Ayshe, a woman who has lost her husband at Gallipoli and is still holding onto his memory. I thought the performance was fine, as she acts as the love interest for Crowe's Connor, but she wasn't really around enough for me to become invested in her. Her son in the film, played by Dylan Georgiades, adds some humor and is generally a fun addition to the film.
Something about the film which I really did enjoy was its large basis in Istanbul, Turkey. Having gone there two years ago, being able to recognize some of the landmarks filmed was really neat for me personally. The use of some of the shots was well done as well and helped to illustrate where the film was set.
Yilmaz Erdogan plays Major Hasan in the film and is involved with the film to a much larger extent than I originally expected. The portrayal of his character as an old man who is reacting to World War I in a calm manner, trying to help Western forces find the remains of soldiers killed in Gallipoli was interesting to me. Seeing him go from reluctant ally to reliable friend to Connor was neat as well and spoke to the way some people can truly accept the past and want to just make the world a better place afterwards.
There are also shots of the battle itself thrown into the mix, mainly focusing on Connor's three sons and the events which took place revolving them. I thought these scenes were really well done, especially the later ones, as they show the agony soldiers went through during World War I.
My only real issue with the film was that there were a few scenes which didn't really seem necessary to the overall plot. Every so often, there would be a scene where Connor would just have a conversation with someone, there would be a small story or joke, then the film would move on. It didn't ruin the film by any means, but I failed to see the relevance of these scenes.
Overall, "The Water Diviner" was actually surprisingly good for me. I'd seen a lot of reviews for it on Twitter praising the thing so I had thought that the hype was a bit much. But Crowe really does deliver in his directing of this film, showing the journey Connor made to find his sons while also showing a good deal of respect to the Muslim culture seen throughout a lot of the film itself. The quick bit of text right before the credits was a nice addition as well. I really did enjoy it and would say to check it out if it comes to a theater near you.