Russell Crowe’s first foray into the world of feature-length directing produced an altogether uninspiring film complete with a predictable plot and countless clichés. But amidst the obvious flaws that come with any debuting director’s work, Crowe showed flashes of brilliance behind the camera, even if his performance in front of it was at best mediocre.
Crowe told a capacity crowd at Dublin’s Savoy Cinema that he heard “a voice that he had actually never heard before which said, ‘you have to take responsibility for this’”. If so, then perhaps the Gladiator star should be more careful about listening to that voice next time, as the story was flat and altogether won’t come close to being one of the better remembered films in the New Zealander’s catalogue. The film won’t be the worst thing that will be shown at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, but I would be stunned to see it anywhere near the top of the leader board when the “Audience Award” for best film is announced at the end of the month.
The plot centres on Joshua Connor, an Australian father of three played by Crowe, who searches to find his sons’ bodies after their deaths at the Battle of Gallipoli. When he arrives, however, he finds evidence that one of them could still be alive. A stellar supporting cast includes Olga Kurylenko as Ayshe, who owns the hotel at which Connor stays and Dylan Georgiades as her cheeky son Ohran. The latter steals the show with his cute performance and perfect line delivery, which shows a lot of promise for a career to come.
Georgiades’ performance adds a certain charm to the film, which sprinkles a perfect amount of humour to compliment tastefully-done war scenes that show top-notch vision from the director and his team. The film has a lot going for it, mostly in the casting; Kurylenko was the perfect choice for her role as was the aforementioned Georgiades. There were glimmers of cinematic beauty, which were a credit to Andrew Lesnie (Cinematographer).
Overall, unfortunately, the film just didn’t have the quality to retain an audience’s interest longer than its 111 minutes. On the basis of this film’s potential, I’m sure Russell Crowe, who has worked with some of the best in the business, will one day produce a masterpiece, but unfortunately, The Water Diviner is not it.
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