Reviewed by: Jeremy Landes
about war in the Bible
What is the Biblical perspective on war? Answer
ignorned by the film is the genocide slaughter of Armenian Christians, Jews and other “infidels” by Muslim Turks which was simultaneous with the Gallipoli battle
Is this movie unfairly pro-Muslim? Is Islam depicted in a more favorable light than it deserves?
love of family
If a Christian commits suicide, will they go to Heaven? Answer
being angry at God
Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer
What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer
Does God feel our pain? Answer
dangers of relying on feelings instead of truth and reason
dowsing / water diviners / divination
What is the Occult? Answer
|Featuring:||Russell Crowe … Joshua Connor
Olga Kurylenko … Ayshe
Isabel Lucas … Natalia
Jai Courtney … Lt-Col Cyril Hughes
Damon Herriman … Father McIntyre
Jacqueline McKenzie … Eliza, Joshua Connor’s wife
Ryan Corr … Art
Cem Yilmaz … Cemal
Megan Gale … Fatma
Deniz Akdeniz … Imam
Yilmaz Erdogan … Major Hasan
|Producer:||Fear of God Films
|Distributor:||Warner Bros. Pictures|
Russell Crowe’s directorial debut is beautiful to look at, features some characters you care about, and it contains exciting battle and chase sequences. Yet, I found the film unbelievable in too many of its plot points, so the film ultimately felt manipulative and contrived.
Joshua Connor (Russell Crowe) has lost his entire family because of the battle at Gallipoli during WWI, which claimed tens of thousands of lives. His mission in the film is to journey from Australia to Turkey and locate the remains of his three young sons amidst the bones of thousands buried there four years before.
Because he seemingly has the ability to use sticks to determine where to dig and find water, he also seems to have enough clairvoyance to figure out the exact spot where his sons died agonizing deaths, which we view via flashback. Watching these young men suffer will live on in my memory as one of the most horrible depictions of war since Oliver Stone’s “Platoon.”
Mr. Connor moves from one lucky encounter to another, as he constantly receives the precise information he needs from minor characters to lead him toward his goal of bringing his sons home to be buried. Most plots have elements of chance in them that can move a story forward, but this movie asks us to accept that its lead character is either the luckiest man on Earth or is being led toward his destiny by visions, magnetic pulses, or other phenomena to achieve all his goals. After too many coincidences, this story, hinging upon the reality of a terrible war, becomes lost in a strange mysticism where, for instance, the pattern of coffee grounds determine whom you will marry.
If you go see “The Water Diviner,” you might have a good cry, seeing a father’s love for his sons and feeling the pain of their loss, but the movie doesn’t end up earning those tears.
If you go see the film, despite my schmaltz warning, you can expect to see plenty of people killing one another brutally in war, hear a little profanity, watch a wicked priest weasel money from a grieving man, see some buttocks as men swim at a beach, observe some prostitutes at work, and see a couple of suicides (essentially).
One might describe some of the most brutal scenes as “gut-wrenching.” In the early 1980s, Australian director Peter Weir made “Gallipoli” (1981), starring Mel Gibson, which dealt with this ferocious battle in a much more moving, realistic way that didn’t need tons of blood and guts to make you feel empathy for the plight of those doomed soldiers. I highly recommend that film over “The Water Diviner,” which wastes some good acting by mixing too much fantasy with historical facts to strange effect.
Violence: Heavy to extreme / Profanity: Moderate—“My G*d” (1), “Oh G*d” (1), “damn” (30), “hell” (2), “a**” (1), “a**-hole” (1), s-word (1), “slut,” “bloody,” “b*gger,” “b*stards” / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.
—Eddie Cockrell, Variety
…earnest bombast… bogged down in a plot that seems to have no end… [2/5]
—Marc Savlov, The Austin Chronicle
…The awfulness and futility of war are seared onto the screen, in images that are often hard to look at. … [2½/4]
—Peter Howell, Toronto Star Newspapers
…a mournful and skeptical antiwar picture …The film's fuzzy mystical undertones are irksome… The film's sense of history and politics is a muddle as well. … [2/4]
—Matt Zoller Seitz, RogerEbert.com
…historians aghast at The Water Diviner’s pro-Turkish slant… [2/4]
—Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail
…You don’t have to be a historian to wonder about the timing of the opening or a critic to regret that Mr. Crowe has signed onto a preposterous, would-be sweeping historical romance that’s far too slight and silly to carry the weight of real history. …
—Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
…It’s less a moving story than a story that knows how to look like a moving story. …There’s just enough of a high-gloss historical sheen that you couldn’t make the charges of vanity project stick, but Russell Crowe the director sure does find an awful lot of upstanding, stirring and utterly manly things for Russell Crowe the actor to do in The Water Diviner. …[2/4]
—David Berry, National Post
…There’s little subtlety or nuance in The Water Diviner. …[2½/4]
—Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer