The Water Diviner - the historical drama starring and directed by Russell Crowe - had all the makings of an awards season feature, which is why it came as a bit of a surprise when the film didn't get a limited release in 2014 to qualify for Oscar consideration. Crowe's movie will instead be arriving stateside this upcoming spring; again, somewhat unexpected, seeing as the feature has already earned its fair share of critical acclaim (and even picked up a few awards for its efforts).
Crowe headlines Water Diviner as Connor, an Australian farmer who goes searching for the bodies of his three sons in Turkey, after they were all seemingly killed together in the Battle of Gallipoli during WWI. However, as is revealed in the film's U.S. trailer (watch it above), it turns out one of Connor's sons might still be alive - motivating the grieving father to locate the last surviving member of his family, no matter what.
Water Diviner, as written by Andrew Anastasios and Andrew Knight, certainly has all the makings of an old-school melodrama (something reflected in the trailer footage) - which isn't, per se, a bad thing. Variety's review acknowledges that Water Diviner is an "ambitious if emotionally manipulative" film that plays out in a compelling manner under Crowe's watchful eye, while THR refers to the feature as a "robust, assured war drama" and a fine example of "good old-fashioned storytelling."
Crowe's directorial debut has also earned recognition from critics and Australian film award shows alike for its examination of Turkish culture, which is also alluded to during the U.S. trailer - with respect to the narrative thread featuring Olga Kurylenko (Oblivion), playing a Turkish hotel manager who helps Connor on his quest. The final result, by the sound of it, is a thoughtful drama about how the impact of war is felt by everyone, no matter what side of the fight (winning or losing) they were on.
The performances by the Water Diviner cast (which includes Jai Courtney) seem pretty strong, as is often true for movies by actors-turned directors (for obvious reasons). Meanwhile, behind the camera, Crowe worked alongside production designer Chris Kennedy (Lawless) and Oscar-winning cinematographer Andrew Lesnie (the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies) to produce what appears to be a very handsome and visually-striking historical drama, at that.
Water Diviner is scheduled to arrive just one week before Avengers: Age of Ultron kicks off the Summer Movie Season at the U.S. box office. Which is to say, if you find yourself in the mood for a good smaller-scale film around the time that Hollywood's tentpoles start flooding theaters, then something like Crowe's feature might be what you're looking for.
The Water Diviner begins a limited theatrical release in the U.S. on April 24th, 2015.
Source: iTunes Movie Trailers