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Non-Review Review: The Water Diviner

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2015.

The Water Diviner is a solid directorial début for actor Russell Crowe, a well-intentioned and relatively under-explored story that occasionally wanders into clumsy melodrama.

Crowe works both in front and behind the camera, directing himself as a father who embarks on a journey across the world to bring his lost sons home. Set in the wake of the First World War, The Water Diviner charts Joshua Connor’s effort to recover the remains his three sons who perished in the battle for Gallipoli. Travelling from the Australia to Turkey, Connor finds himself fighting against bureaucracy and civil strife as he tries to keep the promise to bring his children back to home soil.


It is a fascinating a compelling story. Crowe is a reliable leading man, imbuing Connor with a sense of humanity and relatability that helps to anchor a somewhat spotty screenplay. Crowe seems to trust his cast a great deal, affording them room to work and never rushing them along. However, he also seems somewhat sceptical of the audience. The Water Diviner is packed with repetitive flashbacks and awkward montages designed to impart information that the audience has already grasped.

The result is a rather uneven film. Much like its title character, it seems like The Water Diviner works best when it trusts its instincts; not when it tries to second-guess itself.


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