The Water Diviner (Blu-ray)
Director: Russell Crowe
Gone are the days where I could watch the news and hear about how Russell Crowe pummeled a random person or threw a phone at the face of a hotel concierge. What we have now is a much more subdued Crowe—so subdued, in fact, that I was starting to wonder what happened to him. Once a leading man, he now seems to be taking on smaller roles as side characters. That’s all changed with The Water Diviner as he both directs and stars in this war film.
Loosely based on the book by the same name, Crowe plays Joshua Conner, a simple Australian farmer/ Water Diviner (someone who can locate water under ground with a divining rod) who is in the process of digging a well on his land. Four years previously, his sons had joined the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps at the battle of Gallipoli and are now presumed dead. Unable to deal with the grief, Joshua’s wife commits suicide. Having nothing left, Josh travels to Turkey to bring back his son’s bodies and bury them with their mother. Once in Turkey, he finds out that Gallipoli is off-limits to all civilians as the army is involved in a mass burial of the fallen, but Joshua meets a Turkish officer who takes pity on him and helps with the search. Throughout the film, Joshua meets a cast of colorful characters and gets into a few battles, all while trying to find his dead sons.
Hearing all this, you would assume that this sounds like a rousing crowd-pleaser, the kind of movie you can take your grandparents to without the fear of a sex scene or too much swearing (old people, am I right?) For me, The Water Diviner was a huge letdown. Sure, it’s probably a movie that old people will like—not too violent, romance instead of sex, strong family values, etc—but for the younger crowd, I found the movie to be boring and cheesy as all hell. From the music to the acting, this film reeked of cheese, and not the good type of cheese like pepper jack—no, this reeked of Limburger. There’s also the fact that the movie is called The Water Diviner, other than the beginning where he is digging the well, his ability to find water doesn’t really factor into the rest of the movie.
Now, I’ve talked a lot of shit on the film, but that’s not saying the movie is completely terrible. It’s beautifully shot and they made great use of Turkey and its people. The war scenes are nicely done too, but that’s where the praise ends. The Blu-ray of The Water Diviner is a little on the bare bones side when it comes to the special features, A “making of” and a documentary on the battle of Gallipoli are all that on the disk. The picture and sound is top-notch as always, being that this is a Blu-ray. At the end of the day, The Water Diviner is a forgettable movie that anybody would be unlikely to watch more than once, let alone own. Just wait till TNT airs it on television.