The Water Diviner review

Russell Crowe
Russell Crowe
Olga Kurylenko
Yilmaz Erdogan
Rated: R

Russell Crowe both acts and directs in this picture which takes place in the aftermath of World War I. Crowe plays Connor, a father of three boys in Australia who lives a peaceful life. As the war raged on, though, Connor’s sons were brought into the war and tragically, were all killed in action.

The movie picks up with Connor and his wife learning of the news. After another tragedy occurs in his family, Connor decides to go to the battle location where his sons died and bring them back to Australia for a proper burial.

Crowe’s first time in the directing chair turned out to be a bit of a miss. While “The Water Diviner” certainly isn’t a bad movie, it isn’t particularly an engaging one from start to finish.

There are some emotional scenes here and there and a few parts that were impactful, but for the most part, the movie just seemed to meander a bit with a story that was a bit all over the place, coming off as disjointed, and a romance subplot that felt rather unnecessary.

Crowe is still solid in the acting department, though, showing a heartfelt performance as a father dealing with grief. He is believable in the role he plays, and it is compelling, the problem is that it comes to a point where his grief doesn’t fully get resolved.

This is where the romantic subplot comes into play. It simply felt like more time was spent addressing this aspect of the picture than Connor healing as a person.

Kurylenko plays Ayshe and it’s where my whole controversy lies. Her performance was fine in the film, it’s just the character came across as being unnecessary in a movie about a man grieving and trying to heal. It’s understandable where the filmmakers were going with this part of the story, however, in my view, it simply wasn’t executed very well.

The film is aided by a strong performance from Erdogan who performs as a military officer who was at the same battle that Connor’s sons were at. Erdogan as Major Hasan was one of the more intriguing characters in the film and his scenes with Crowe are some of the best in the movie.

Without a doubt, the best part of “The Water Diviner” is the cinematography. The landscapes and environments captured through the camera is done flawlessly and visually, makes for a good experience.

“The Water Diviner” could have benefited from a more streamlined story and better pacing. Unfortunately, the whole thing comes off as a bit of a mess. A beautiful mess, thanks to some nice acting and gorgeous cinematography, but still a mess. 2 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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