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The Water Diviner – Movie Review

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The Water Diviner – Movie Review by Frank L.

Directed by Russell Crowe

Writers: Andrew Knight, Andrew Anastasios
Stars: Jai Courtney, Olga Kurylenko, Russell Crowe

Beginning in the tough outback of Australia at the turn of the last century, Connor (Russell Crowe) and his wife raise three fine sons. At the outbreak of war in 1914 they, like many other young men, enlist and are sent to Gallipoli where they perish in the general slaughter. The wiping out of her boys has a terrible effect on Connor’s wife and he vows to her to bring their bodies back home. As a result he has to travel to Istanbul after the conclusion of the war, where he encounters the colour, bustle and brouhaha of an ancient and busy mercantile city. Connor is a hero, in the nineteenth century romantic use of that term, who has to overcome a variety of physical, historical and bureaucratic obstacles in order to pursue his mission. Russell Crowe is a suitable candidate for the role of such a derring-do character.

Crowe as the director captures a lonesome beauty in the vast outback scenery in which the first part of the film takes place. The sparseness stands in sharp contrast to the clamour and vast array of colour which greets Connor in Istanbul. The inhabitants are manifold and are in marked contrast to what he had known in the outback. Istanbul and the outback are poles apart. He also has to deal with the victorious British whose army officers do not want an Ozzie father wandering around the battlefields looking for his sons’ remains. He manages to strike up a working friendship with a Major Hasan (Yilmaz Erdogan) from the defeated Ottoman army. He tangles, to an extent, with an elegant young widow Ayshe (Olga Kurylenko) who is the manager of his hotel. The cultural differences are vast in this unusual mix. In addition as the search for the bodies continue there is considerable use of flashback of the sons in battle which keeps the horror of war firmly in view. Inevitably a little bit of romance creeps in while the search for the sons’ bodies takes an unexpected turning.

This is a film in the epic hero mould which is enjoyable for its swashbuckling bravura.

 

 

 

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