Water Diviner' - A masterpiece sans 'X' factor (IANS Movie Review)
Dedicated to the memory of all those nameless people who died or were lost
during the World War I, 'The Water Diviner' is based on true events
that occurred nearly a century ago.
It is the poignant tale of a bereaved Australian farmer who travels all the way
to Gallipoli in Turkey, to get the remains of his three sons who went there to
fight. They are now missing and presumed dead.
Packed with the strappings of an epic, actor Russell Crowe's maiden directorial
venture, 'The Water Diviner' is a complex tale of love and hope.
Blessed with the power of dowsing -- a type of divination -- employed in
attempts to locate ground water, Joshua Connor is prodded by his grief-stricken
wife Eliza with, 'It's been four years, you can find water but you can't
find your own children. You lost them.'
Hurt with this accusation, he promises her that he would find them and get them
home. So he sets out on a mission, after her death.
Joshua travels to Turkey and after an initial hurdle at the immigration; he
finds fate intervening with his plans. He is guided by his dowsing ability, a
dream, coffee reading and unlikely allies like a Turkish Officer, Major Hasan
and a young widow Ayshe who owns a hotel in Istanbul.
Technically, the film is brilliantly crafted. The war scenes are graphic and
gruesome, especially when the three brothers are struck. The painful groan of
Henry is haunting and blood curdling. And it gets repulsive when the scene is
repeated as flashback.
Shot with wide angle lenses, the visuals by cinematographer Andrew Lesnie
capture the pristine beauty of the virgin landscapes of Turkey and Australia.
His atmospheric lighting that created the earthy golden hued frames depicts the
period aesthetically. Unfortunately, the post war scenes in Turkey, particularly
the market place are clichA¿d, but the camera movements make it interesting to
What elevates this viewing experience is the background score given by David
Hirschfelder. While the drum beats from the first frame onwards are haunting,
the score gathers momentum during the sandstorm scene in Australia making it an
The Turkish folk song, 'Hey Fifteen Year Olds' sung by Jemal, Major
Hasan's right hand man is lively and well-integrated into the script.
Unfortunately, the film falters at the scripting level where the screenplay is
plotted with fuzzy logic. The scenes are treated in a perfunctory manner. The
director does not delve into building the characters emotionally. Except for one
or two sketchy scenes, there are no actual in-depth scenes of the family bonding
in Australia or Joshua finding water or him struggling to find the bodies, in
Narrated in a non-linear manner and interspersed with intense war scenes, the
unfolding is fudged by a lazily drafted script. Due to this, the performance of
the cast lacks intensity. Russell Crowe an exceedingly superb actor does his bit
to perfection. So does rest of the cast that includes, Yilmaz Erdogan as Major
Hasan, Bond girl Olga Kurylenko as Ayshe and Jai Courtney as Lt. Col Hughes. But
it is Dylan Georgiades as Orhan, Ayshe's charming young son who begs Joshua to
stay at his hotel and forcibly takes him there, who steals the show.
Ultimately, 'The Water Diviner' is a masterpiece minus the 'X' factor.