18 July 2015 | prospectus_capricornium
Exquisitely-Acted and Heart-wrenchingly Sentimental,
Right from the beginning, Russel Crowe's directorial debut, THE WATER DIVINER, is already sweeping with unfathomable amount of emotions, gathering affection the moment it flashes grim representations of war and what follows at its heels. From there, it treads through compassionate subjects of ambitious scale, stumbling upon its own entanglements at times, but gets saved by towering affectionate performances from its actors.
The film follows the story of miraculous farmer (he knows where to find water underneath the arid earth) Joshua Connor (Crowe), whose three sons were sent to the war in Turkey. Years later and none of them has ever come home. His wife mourns over their presumed death, and succumbs to fatal depression. Swearing at his wife's grave to bring their sons' remains home, Connor voyages to Turkey, not even knowing what exactly to expect and see.
There is much to admire in Crowe for helming such historical romance, teeming with bold themes about love, family, and war. His directorial inexperience screams with some odd choices he made, like the forced romance between Connor and Olga Kurylenko's widow character, and the mostly ill-woven narrative his screenwriters knitted, but the sentimental performances of his actors and himself, are overwhelming enough to make up for the narrative inconsistencies. These solid heart-shattering performances summon the affection they truly deserve, and make the film, amid of its script's evident flaws, able to relay its sincere intentions, to the audience. Also a key factor for its effective delivery, is an exquisite cinematography that is able to capture the dreadfulness of the war, the sorrow of a grieving and longing father, and the breathtaking sceneries of countryside Australia, assuming incredibly toned palettes that shifts along the landscapes of the story.
This movie could have been perfect with an excellently-written script, but considering it's just Crowe's first directorial assignment, I'd say this is one hell of an epic job. Sincere, heart-wrenching, and beautifully-acted, THE WATER DIVINER, packs an incredible wallop of searing emotions, sending the most striking of sentiments, despite the faults in its storytelling.