Oscar season is nearly upon us, and it has brought with it a grand collection of trailers for movies that are silently (and not-so-silently) pleading for attention in the major Academy Awards categories. There’s Robert Downey Jr. courtroom drama The Judge, true-life chiller Foxcatcher, David Fincher’s mystery thriller Gone Girl and Angelina Jolie’s Louis Zamperini biopic Unbroken, to name just a few.
Jolie made her feature directorial debut in 2011 with In the Land of Blood and Honey, and this year another Academy Award winning actor is trying his hand at directing drama. Russell Crowe’s The Water Diviner looks like the perfect recipe for Academy attention: it’s got a protagonist with a heartfelt quest (played by Crowe), a dead wife, a First World War backdrop, exotic locations and even a Shawshank Redemption-esque shot of the main character standing in water with his arms and face raised to the sky.
Cynicism aside, the first trailer for The Water Diviner does look quite impressive, even if it doesn’t quite sell Crowe’s directorial debut as a must-see movie among the strong competition also being released this season. It’s certainly aptly timed, arriving shortly after the anniversary of the beginning of World War One, and could make for an interesting double billing with David Ayer’s World War Two tank drama Fury. Check out the trailer for The Water Diviner above and the new poster for the movie below.
The trailer boasts some gorgeous cinematography that’s courtesy of Andrew Lesnie, who was also the director of photography for the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. The cast also includes Olga Kurylenko (Oblivion) as a woman whom Crowe’s character, Connor, encounters during his journey to Turkey, where he hopes to find the three sons that he lost during the war and to bring them back home, dead or alive.
It’s a strong premise with plenty of potential for tearjerking moments, but since Crowe is currently untested as a director (and screenwriters Andrew Anastasios and Andrew Knight don’t yet hold any significant accolades), it’s hard to tell whether or not this family-driven story will come together well enough to be a serious contender during the awards season.
The Water Diviner doesn’t currently have a US release date.