By Liz Lopez
Rating: B+

Sometimes we hear or know of a movie script that falls under the category of WAR and potentially rule it out as one that is predictable for any number of reasons. I honestly believe there are many stories to be told by soldiers, their families and friends, especially with as many conflicts, battles and wars around the world. I do not know as much about World War I as I have heard or read about World War II in my life. I would fail a history test if I had to answer questions. I do not know how many individuals are well versed on War World I, but I left the theater certainly knowing more after viewing The Water Diviner, written by Andrew Knight and Andrew Anastasios. Russell Crowe directs and stars in the lead role of Conner, an Australian father of three young adult/teen sons who he watches leave to a war on another continent and does not see or hear from them again. This has ultimately taken a toll of their mother, Eliza (Jacqueline McKenzie), as we see her early in the film having a break down, then subsequently drowns in the same water that her husband has located on their property. The story line does not provide details about any efforts by Conner to locate the sons in approximately four years, but Eliza makes one statement to Conner in the film that indicates he has been too focused on locating water and not the boys. Finding himself a widower, he leaves everything behind to journey across the world.

The synopsis provided by Warner Bros. indicates the film is “inspired by real events,” but I am not sure how many events in the film are “real” other than the battle of Gallipoli in Turkey in 1915. I have no doubt real fathers/families had tried to trace the whereabouts of their loved ones who left to war and did not return. Is Conner the only one, or the only one who dared to keep pushing the status quo the military had set up at the time? There is not an absolute need to know more details in order to enjoy the film, but I would find it more interesting if the filmmakers had cited a fact – even as the credits roll.

On the other hand, anyone who has gone through the grief of losing a loved one will no doubt share or at least understand each character’s emotions – no matter what side of the battle a person is on. One of my favorite characters is Major Hasan (Yilmaz Erdogan) who truly seemed to understand Conner’s plight more than anyone else, as he knew he had lost 70,000 troops in that battle, and more was yet to come as they fought another foe.

The beautiful Olga Kurylenko (former Bond Girl, Quantum of Solace) portrays Ayshe, who at first does not want Conner staying at the hotel where she lives/works, but it is not long before she and the blue-eyed stranger share a coffee that changes their world. This romance is a simple courtship and is not anything else, so trust me this is not the reason for the R rating. It most certainly is the very graphic scenes of war in the field and trenches.

I recommend this for Russell Crowe fans, and those who enjoy historical dramas


Check your local listings for theaters – four in Austin and at the Santikos Bijou Cinema in San Antonio.

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