The Water Diviner is something different. For a film partially about Gallipoli, there is an acute lack of Australian nationalistic drum-beating, which is enjoyable. Indeed, the characters are all developed, and it explores post-war life and the human condition quite well. The plot does seem a bit confused at times – not because it is overly complex but because sometimes it seems a little unsure as to where it wants to go. Overall, definitely something zealous patriots might need to watch before ANZAC Day 2015, and by anyone who has an interest in the post-war experience of Australians and/or Turks.
As with many historical films, an understanding of the subject matter (life and politics in Anatolia and Turkey after World War One here) helps, but is not essential to enjoy the main plot.
Speaking about the plot, the main one here focuses on Australian father Connor (Russell Crowe) who leaves Australia to find his three sons who are presumed killed at Lone Pine. Along the way, he stumbles across Turkish nationalists fighting for independence from the British occupation and the Greek incursions into Anatolia, as well as developing a relationship with a local hotel owner and her small son. These side plots are well developed but can muddy the main plot at times.
This film is splendidly produced, and very moving. It has some incredibly draining scenes, although this is balanced out nicely with a little humour. The acting is superb, and the actors all succeed in bringing their characters to life. Their happiness and aspirations, what they hold in contempt, what breaks them…it all comes out brilliantly. The soundtrack is also suitably moving, adding emphasis in all the correct spots, although silence is used to great effect. The dream sequences could have been made more obvious, but otherwise the shots were all stunning.
The Water Diviner is an excellent watch. The small plot issues are more than fixed by excellent scriptwriting, a great mastery of sound, and fantastic acting. Definitely something that should be watched in the lead up to ANZAC Day for Australians and Turkish people alike.