April 17, 2015

Movie Review/Preview: The Water Diviner

The Water Diviner is a Warner Brothers film which I received free passes period paragraph.  These were tickets available to the general public; I am reviewing this as I do most of the movies I attend.

I am more than embarrassed to say that I know very little of World War I history and absolutely nothing about the Battle of Gallipoli that occurred in Turkey or the ANZAC (Australian New Zealand Army Corps) forces.  This movie is "Inspired by True Events".  According to some of the reviews I've read there is much concern over how much is true in the film beyond that fact that Australian and New Zealand soldiers fought in this battle that occurred in Turkey.  I ,however, am not here to debate the validity of the "Events" portrayed ~can you believe there are some debates which are hot and heavy on the issue of facial hair!!  As far as the historical truth behind the story~ I walked out curious about things I never knew so I consider that a success.  Enough said onto my review.

The Water Diviner
The short synopsis of the movie is ~ Joshua Connor (Russell Crowe) is an Australian farmer who has the gift of water divination.  He receives notice that his three sons die together on Lone Pine during the Battle of Gallipole.  Unable to live with her grief, his wife dies a few years later.  Joshua makes a grave side promise that he will bring his boys home to rest with her.

I do not recall seeing the preview for this and based on the religious title/production/logos shown in the beginning (Uggh can't remember what that is called) I quickly realized I had no clue what this movie was about and I was a bit anxious; which was definitely all for naught.  
The story follows Joshua travelling from Australia to Turkey in a search for his sons.  There we meet other characters hurting from their own war experiences yet open to energy that Joshua brings to his quest.  The relationships beyond those involving Joshua were strong and evoking.   Officers from both sides of the battle working to recover the forgotten and left behind soldiers; some of them are ready to release the past and move on while others still only see enemies. Ayshe, the owner of the hotel where Joshua stays, originally views him as the enemy and denies him a room. Through the kindness Joshua shows her son Orhan, and recognizing the loss they share Ayshe grows to see him as a friend. The familial relationships of Ayshe's remind us that while after war those left behind must continue to live yet not everyone moves on together. This movie is also a journey of redemption, love and healing.  I find it hard for anyone watching not to be touched at some point during the movie. There were many moments, some unexpected, when I could hear fellow audience members crying.  At one such short scene, and I can only imagine it has to do with my current interest in genealogy, I felt a sense of loss watching the destruction of war records.
This movie is Russell Crowe's directorial debut.  I am always a bit hesitant to get excited when actors decide to get behind the camera even more so when they're starring in that movie as well.  I think Russell Crowe has the potential to achieve great things behind the camera; even if he is in front of it too. Since becoming a Marine Mom I know I have an issue with military movies which will help you understand why I was a bit uncomfortable with the way Crowe interspersed the war flashbacks through the film.  Almost every scene was introduced with gunshots or another loud noise, with no warning.  I found this to be a bit unnerving.  The special effects as well as the cinematography were outstanding. I don't believe I've ever viewed a sand storm portrayed as it was in this movie.  

This movie was released in Australia in December.  It received 9 AACTA nominations and won  3 of those including Best Picture (tie).  It is being released in the US April 27th.  The movie will be part of  the national celebration of the 100th anniversary of ANZAC Day with it being shown on TV in Australia on April 20 and at Ben & Jerry’s Openair Cinemas later in the month.
I believe this is a big screen movie without a doubt.  It is rated R appropriately (and wasn't surprised the mom down front with the 3 young kids left early) for the violent and graphic scenes.  
My Movie Grade:  B+.
 Next Movie:
Hubby wants to see Age of Adaline ~ April 24
I still haven't seen Home which came out March 27
PLUS this week's new release: 
Disney's Monkey Kingdom April 16 ~ Love Disney Nature Films
The only downside of attending an early screening

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