‘The Water Diviner’ shows the historical horrors of war, blends genres

Water Diviner movie review

Directed by and starring Russell Crowe, “The Water Diviner” is an emotional tale of a father’s journey to locate the bodies of his sons after they were killed in World War I in Gallipoli, Turkey.

The film is based around true accounts of the aftermath after the first World War, including stories and official records from the book of the same name by Andrew and Meaghan Wilson-Anastasios.

The film begins with Joshua Connor (played by Russell Crowe),  a “water diviner,” digging a well in the Australian outback. It is revealed that his three sons, Edward, Arthur and Henry enlisted in the Australian army and were presumably killed in the Battle of Gallipoli four years earlier.

Connor laments constantly that it is his fault that his sons were killed since he did not bat an eye when they enlisted. “I filled their heads with nonsense–God and king and country,” Connor says about the Australians’ attitude about invading Turkey, plunging Australia into World War I. Connor then makes it his personal mission to bring his sons home, so they can be buried in consecrated ground.

The majority of the story focuses on the disdain between the Turkish people and the people of Australia and Britain. Connor’s struggle to navigate the war-torn landscapes to find what remains of his family, so that he can move on is almost representative of the countries affected by World War I trying to recuperate and rebuild after the war.

Connor finds himself in the middle of the Ottoman Empire being split into pieces, which makes his journey even harder. Connor has to fight through his own personal struggles as he teams up with a Turkish general, who might have been responsible for the death of his sons, so then he can move forward with his journey to find their bodies.

The various political and national sympathies of Australia, Turkey, Great Britain and Greece make up the backbone of the film, leaving the audience to wonder what side they should take. The  historical conflict and context adds real world drama and intrigue to “The Water Diviner.” The film seems to be a blend a few different genres all at once, marrying action, drama, history and westerns to create a film about a conflict that isn’t just black and white. The historical undertones that come to the surface of the film are what seem to make “The Water Diviner” stand out the most.

The film shows the horrors of war, and the battles that go on within people’s hearts and minds as they rebuild society after a monumental conflict.

“The Water Diviner” opened in Australia, New Zealand and Turkey toward the end of last year, and won three Australian Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

“The Water Diviner” premiered in the United States on April 24.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment


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