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film review

Russell Crowe stars as Joshua Connor and Ryan Corr as Art.Mark Rogers

Russell Crowe is always up for a fight, and darn it if he didn't pick a doozy for his directorial debut.

A sweeping period epic concerns an Australian farmer's quest to find the bodies of his three young soldier sons who fought and presumably died on the Turkish peninsula of Gallipoli during the First World War.

But just as Anzac troops had quite a go of it in Gallipoli, Crowe (who also stars as the doggedly bereaved father and exceptional well-digger here) is in tough with critic-historians aghast at The Water Diviner's pro-Turkish slant.

That said, the popcorn munchers in the crowd will admire the charismatic cinematography and blithely accept a Hollywood-typical romance – a ravishing Turkish widow initially detests the grieving Aussie (who is twice her age, mind you) but grudgingly and incrementally decides to totally fall in love with him – and believe in an unlikely bromance too.

Water seeks its own level and Crowe, while in over his head, will find his audience.