Thursday, April 23, 2015
Who knew that the usually brutish Russell Crowe could be sensitive enough to fashion a film as lyrical as The Water Diviner? By turns epic and intimate, The Water Diviner is a low-key directorial debut for the macho Australian actor who stars as Joshua Connor, a man who lost three sons on the same day in the Battle of Gallipoli. Determined to bring their remains back to Australia, Connor sets out for Çanakkale, Turkey and encounters a larger number of Turks sympathetic to his mission than anyone could imagine. Among them is the beautiful young Ayshe (Olga Kurylenko), a woman who also sacrificed a great deal during the war. As conventional as the story reads on paper, Crowe instills it with an unpredictability and earnestness that seem damn near inventive. From a hauntingly surreal opening through a dewy, personal second act and onto a grand, epic conclusion, The Water Diviner frequently confounds, not just because of who Crowe is and what one expects from the forceful actor. But also because Crowe shows a remarkable self-confidence, letting the film meander in a way one associates most with the most unpretentious classic films.