Since the days of Charlie Chaplain, actors directing their own films have become increasingly common. Whether they want to further their craft or their own egos is debatable. What isn’t is the differing quality of their directorial projects. Robert Redford and George Clooney have excelled in their self-made movies, while others have fallen flat. ‘The Water Diviner’ finds Russell Crowe taking a turn behind the camera. Crafting an interesting film, it shows he has creative talent behind his sometimes boorish persona.
In 1919, Australian farmer Conner (Russell Crowe) is on a quest. Wanting to discover the fate of his three sons who fought in Gallipoli, he travels to Turkey. While staying in a hotel run by Ayshe (Olga Kurylenko), Connor teams with a Turkish officer. Travelling across the still war-scarred terrain, Connor soon learns about sacrifice and heroism with his mission taking some unexpected paths.
‘The Water Diviner’ marks a respectable directorial debut for Crowe. Grasping the story’s themes and characters with ease, he reveals flair in blending them together. His handling of the culture clashes between Connor and those he meets are especially fascinating. Not only does Connor deal with tension amongst the Turks but also the stifling British bureaucracy. The immediate aftermath of such a bloody war is interestingly told, with passions still running high.
Another plus are the locations which look amazing. From the Australian outback’s rugged terrain to Turkey’s natural beauty, ‘The Water Diviner’ has a good sense of place. These further magnify the differing nationalities and the character’s determined natures. Whilst some editing choices and a few out of place action scenes muddy the narrative, ‘The Water Diviner’ succeeds in being a film of quality.
Generally free of the pretention of many local drama films, ‘The Water Diviner’ is something many should appreciate. Crowe doesn’t disgrace himself as a director or performer with his latest a more than decent directorial debut.
Movie Review Rating out of 10: 7
Movie Review by Patrick Moore
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Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.