Posted Oct 28 2015

The Water Diviner - This Movie Doesn't Really Rock

Dir: Russell Crowe

Starring Russell Crowe, Olga Kuryleno,  Jai Coutney

Full marks to Russell Crowe for not going easy on himself in his first directorial outing. He sets out to tackle a historical drama, spanning continents, staging WWI battle scenes, with a little bit of mysticism, a drop of history, mixed with tales of emotional redemption and even a dollop of romance. And, as all of that makes it sound, it’s something of an uneven pudding in its totality.

Russ is the man who knows where things are to be found underground. Thus he takes his ability for finding water in the wilds of the outback to digging up the dead bodies of his sons after the battle of Gallipoli. Water, dead kids – it’s the same thing really.

Crowe’s performance is solid, and his movie is solid, it’s just that it’s rarely more than that. Plus, it suffers from trying to be too much. The emotional journey of the father is one thing, but the romance that starts to bloom between him and the Turkish widow hotelier (Kurylenko) comes out of the blue and feels completely unrealised. Interesting historical views are dropped in, but then left hanging. The movie shifts tone as it shifts location, sure of where it is in the world, but less so of where it is in the emotional side of the story.

It’s not a bad film, and Crowe certainly feels in charge of it. It’s just the story he has chosen to tell is too incidental and, in an unexpected way, almost too inconsequential to resonate in the way the first time director clearly wants it to.


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