THE WATER DIVINER (transfer) review

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These “transfer” reviews are from when I only did reviews on my Facebook page back in 2015. Bare in mind when reading these, I didn’t have the same formula in my review writing that I do now, and my usual “who starred and who directed” information is completely absent, so everything “italicized” is new. With that said, enjoy this review from 2015.

Quite literally, I saw this movie because… I wanted to see a movie and the Arclight got rid of other movies that I wanted to see, or they weren’t playing at a time that suited my schedule. WATER DIVINER was the exception. I knew nothing about this movie. I knew it starred Russell Crowe… that’s it, and even that I only gathered from the poster-icon when selecting the movie that I wanted to see. Had no idea what it was about until I read the synopsis.

Starring: Russell Crowe (THE MUMMY [2017], and the upcoming BOY ERASED [2018]) and Olga Kurylenko (007 QUANTUM OF SOLACE [2008], and upcoming films THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE [2018] and JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN [2018])

Support: Jai Courtney (SUICIDE SQUAD [2016], and upcoming films STORM BOY [2018] and ARKIE [2019]), Isabel Lucas (KNIGHT OF CUPS [2016], and the upcoming IN LIKE FLYNN [2018]), Ben O’Toole (12 STRONG [2018], EVERYBODY LOVES SOMEBODY [2017], HACKSAW RIDGE [2016], and the upcoming NEKROMANCER [2018]), and Megan Gale (MAD MAX: FURY ROAD [2015])

Director: Russell Crowe (feature film directorial debut; congrats, sir)
Writers: Andrew Knight (HACKSAW RIDGE, and the upcoming RIDE LIKE A GIRL [2018]) and Andrew Anastasios (screenwriting debut; congrats, sir)
Composer: David Hirschfelder (THE DRESSMAKER [2016] and the upcoming IN LIKE FLYNN)
Cinematographer: Andrew Lesnie (THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES [2014], THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING [2001], and BABE [1995]). Rest in peace, sir. This was his final film.
Editor: Matt Villa (LEGO BATMAN [2017], and upcoming films WINCHESTER [2018] and AT LAST [2018])

Below is the movie’s story. If you are familiar with the film and wish to see it without spoilers (btw, SPOILERS BELOW), then skip ahead to the review below.

This is my honest opinion of: THE WATER DIVINER


The film opens during a battle during World War I. Specifically the Battle of Gallipoli, a battle between Australia and Turkey. The Turks advance on enemy lines and face little opposition, only to discover that the Australians have retreated. Victory! Huzzah! Fast forward 4 years later, Connor (Russell Crowe) is living a quiet life in Australia with his wife. However, we discover that Connor and his wife had 3 children, all sons… and all 3 went and fought in WWI, specifically in, you guessed it, the Battle of Gallipoli and they died there too. The wife, in her grief, is stuck in denial and continues to have Connor read “Arabian Knights” to empty beds. Her insanity hits the breaking point and drowns herself in a nearby lake. Believing that his family must be buried together, Connor decides that he must travel to the battlefield of Gallipoli to locate the bones of his sons and bring them home.


Fun fact, Russell Crowe directed this film. Anywho, my biggest complaint about the movie is that it has no idea what kind of movie it wants to be. Is it a WWI movie? Is it a POST-WWI movie? Is it a psychological drama? A romance? All of these elements are thrown in together and it just doesn’t mix well. With absolutely no offense to miss Kurylenko, who does a beautiful job playing Ayshe, her character is literally there for romantic purposes only. The story occasionally shifts to her point-of-view and what her character faces, but… why? Isn’t the focus supposed to be on this father looking for the remains of his dead sons? Dear lord, movie, I get other people are affected by war, but the narrative is told through the eyes of Connor, not Ayshe. Sure, she and young Georgiades (also a charismatic and charming boy) provide a level of therapy, I guess, to an otherwise VERY distraught man, but fucking hell, your wife’s barely rotting in the ground before you hop on over to the next hot piece of European ass (and Kurylenko is NOT an excuse, as much as I wish she was lol). All hail the power of boners, I guess.

And oh my dear, sweet, gentle jesus is Crowe’s directing is obvious… his inexperience shines blindingly in the first 15-20 minutes. Granted, it gets MUCH better over time, but I swear the movie needed to squeeze another 15 minutes out of itself by throwing in a grand epic battle at the end, which REALLY took me out of the story. Couldn’t think of ANYTHING better, writers? Really? Whatever, I digress.

Don’t get me wrong, the writing isn’t TERRIBLE, and in many ways it’s damn good… during the romance sequences. Yeah, the best written moments of the story come from the most pointless ones, the evolving relationship between Connor and Ayshe. *le sigh.* To be fair, any time Crowe and Erdogan are talking is also a great scene, but they are so far apart in impact to the story, I kind of wish the focus would have been on their relationship instead.

As many complaints that I have, this movie isn’t bad when you lose yourself to the scenes, one by one. You feel for Connor, his struggle, there’s no shortage of heart in this story, but it’s just so painfully muddled by multiple genres that I walked away not knowing how to classify it as a whole.

My honest rating for THE WATER DIVINER: a weak 3/5


11 Replies to “THE WATER DIVINER (transfer) review”

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