It's no surprise to see Russell Crowe bring along his emotional manliness as he makes the leap to the other side of the camera. What's less expected, however, is the actor-director's ability in arranging an old-fashioned period drama and delivering its anti-war message with a visceral punch.
Four years after his three soldier sons were assumed dead on the battlefield of Gallipoli, a trauma that drove his wife to suicide, outback farmer Joshua Connor (Crowe) travels to Turkey in 1919 on a mission to find his boys' remains in the war graves.
It sounds ludicrous — as the Aussie officer (Jai Courtney) and Turkish Major (Yilmaz Erdogan) stuck with Connor would concur — but Crowe deserves credit for suspending his audience's shock for this magical and mysterious story: just because Connor can discover desert springs we're ready to accept he can find his sons, too.
Although the preposterousness of that quest is offset by Crowe's powerful depiction of the horrors of war for both the Australians and Turks, The Water Diviner unfortunately splits its attention with a romance so tacky it drowns out the more important ideas.
Played by Ukrainian-born Olga Kurylenko, the Muslim war widow Ayshe that Connor falls for turns out to be an expert in reading the future in her coffee -- and that should make them a pair. Her choice of partner between her violent and cruel married brother-in-law (Steve Bastoni) and our hero is predictable and, quite honestly, boring.
All in all, The Water Diviner was very well made and was more than worth seeing. In my opinion, this movie is a must see because of its interesting storyline that reels you in and doesn't let you go.
You can find it on Digital HD, DVD, and Blu-ray July 28th!