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Water Diviner, The


Stars: Russell Crowe, Olga Kurylenko, Jai Courtney, Yilmaz Erdogen, Cem Yilmaz, Ryan Corr, Isobel Lucas

Director: Russell Crowe

1916: Aussie desert dweller and wind farmer Joshua Connor (Crowe), who seems to make part of his living discovering water below ground, grieves over the loss of his three sons at the battle of Gallipoli, but has at least held on to his sanity, unlike his wife, who is soon to drown herself in the farm's pond.

Her death spurs Joshua to make a journey to Turkey in an attempt to bring his sons' remains back home. A local boy leads him to a hotel, where the proprietress (Kurylenko) reluctantly gives him room and board.

Connor's attempts to reach Gallipoli are thwarted at every turn, but he eventually crosses the Dardanelles by boat, to discover a group of British army officers who, assisted by two Turkish veterans (Erdogen, Yilmaz), are attempting to set up proper graves for the thousands of Anzac soldiers killed.

Again blocked from entry, Joshua refuses to leave and ultimately, through instinct more than anything else, locates the remains of two of his sons; later he becomes involved with the fortunes of the two Turks, who are leading resistance against the Greeks and become his friends.

Crowe's directorial debut is well-made and pictorially striking, although the quest and the impactful and atmospheric action scenes work considerably better than his tentative relationship with his almost impossibly beautiful landlady, who has lost her own husband at Gallipoli and is about to be forced to become her husband's brother's second wife. A bit of a curate's egg, then, but well worthwhile for its best scenes.

David Quinlan

Australia 2014. UK Distributor: Entertainment One. Colour by deluxe.
110 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 31 Mar 2015