The Water Diviner
Russell Crowe's feature directorial debut The Water Diviner is both a tribute to new Australian cinema and old Hollywood cinema. It's both a serious lesson about war and a heartstring-tugging entertainment. Crowe the director mostly manages to smooth the edges between these disparate moods. Occasionally he succumbs to moments of flourish or to moments of awkwardness, but for the most part, it's a very satisfying achievement. Crowe plays Joshua Connor, an Australian farmer who is also the title water diviner. His three sons fought in the 1915 battle of Gallipoli in Turkey, and they were all lost there. It's four years later, and when Joshua's wife dies from grief, he decides to travel there to find out what happened and perhaps bring their bodies home. He gets the reluctant help of a beautiful semi-widowed innkeeper, Ayshe (Olga Kurylenko), whose husband is missing.