When news came back to him that his three sons had died fighting in the Battle of Gallipoli, in 1915, it affected Connor (Russell Crowe - Noah) but not as much as his wife who couldn't cope with the news. After another tragedy Connor journeys to Turkey to find the remains of his three sons but meets with opposition from the British army who are working there to find all the remains of the wounded men. But Connor is a persistent man who finds an ally in, Ayshe (Olga Kurylenko - The November Man) who he meets when her son leads him to her hotel.
Russell Crowe should be feeling good about "The Water Diviner" as for a first crack of directing, whilst acting in it as well, it is a solid movie. Solid is very much the word which springs to mind to describe pretty much every part of it starting with Crowe's directing style as there is a mix of well handled action which brings a sense of urgency to the movie but there is also gentler, more picturesque elements which run alongside a subtle romantic storyline. It is a case that nothing Crowe does as director ends up really wrong yet you get a sense that there is more to come and in "The Water Diviner" he was airing on the side of caution stylistically in case it spoilt the movie.
Solid is also how the storyline came across as whilst "The Water Diviner" is a touching movie based on a true story there is that sense there could have been more depth to it. As such what we get is this journey storyline as we watch Connor set about finding his three son's remains but along the way not only becomes close to Ayshe but also makes an unlikely ally. And this is all done with that nice mix of drama, action and also romance. But again there was just something missing which would have taken this good movie up a notch to being something I would go out of my way to watch again.
And yes solid is the word which I will use for the acting as Russell Crowe delivers a quality performance as Connor in this. Yet once again I get the sense that he was holding back, being cautious to not bring some thing to his character which would be over the top or too reminiscent of a character he has played before. At the same time there is Olga Kurylenko as Ayshe and she plays the part brilliantly yet when I think about her in this movie it isn't the character that comes to mind but her captivating eyes.
What this all boils down to is that "The Water Diviner" is a good movie and a good first stab at going behind the camera for Russell Crowe. But for me I just had a sense that there was a cautious air to the movie with Crowe not wanting to risk anything and that to me means hopefully there is more and bigger to come from him as director.