Crowe, Russell (director)
The Water Diviner, Fear of God Films and other production companies, Australia, 2014
Alison Broinowski briefly reviews the film for Honest History. A further review from Peter Stanley, including a link to an interview with the writers and more comments from readers. (See also our review of another, rather better, Great War movie, Testament of Youth.) Panayiotis Diamadis reviews the movie in Neos Kosmos (Hellenic version). A thoughtful review from Richard Phillips on the World Socialist Web Site, including this on whether the movie is ‘anti-war’:
Numerous movies have exposed the horrible reality of war, but to be classified as “anti-war,” some understanding of the driving forces behind the barbarity must be provided, or, at the very least, an attempt to stimulate audiences to investigate such issues.
Cast and credits are at the above link. Essentially, the film is about an Australian who travels to Turkey in 1919 to try to locate his three sons, missing since Gallipoli. Other reviews are by Sandra Hall (Fairfax), Paul Byrnes (Fairfax), various people on Rotten Tomatoes, Leigh Paatsch (Herald-Sun), News.com.au, and Eddie Cockrell (Variety). Guy Walters in The Telegraph (London) complains about films based on historical events. Philippa Hawker (Fairfax) on the making of the film. Further comment from Karl Quinn of Fairfax. Review and comments on the Australian War Memorial’s Education Facebook page. An article by Panayiotis Diamadis on an Australian soldier whose experience had some similarities to Arthur Connor, the surviving son in the film. A cartoon from The Age, 24 January, by John Spooner, which touches on the important historical context of the film. A further Australian comment, with comments on the comment from Peter Stanley. Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian. Centre for Eurasian Studies. Australian Turkish Advocacy-Alliance. Alexander Scott, an historian from Lancaster University, UK. London Telegraph. Erdem Koc on Turkey and Gallipoli and the movie. Angela Dawson in Front Row Features (interviews Rusty). Bruce Scates and Rebecca Wheatley present evidence on the identity of the man upon whom the story was based.
22 December 2014 and updated
The story avoids mention of the genocide then on BY the Turks including the people of Kallipoli as it was called before 1913. And the end of the movie is a LIE that insults the tortured, raped, robbed and slaughtered. But do not believe me – go to the Greek Genocide Resource Centre for tons of evidence
The movie gives the lie to the contention that Menzies’ failure to serve in WW2 wa due to the family deciding his other two serving was enough.
December 27, 2014 at 12:10 am (Edit)
The Water Diviner, viewed as a movie, is a bit of a mixture – part romance, part war movie, part Odyssey – but it gives us the context that is so often lacking in Australian views of war, particularly this war: it points out that Turkish casualties Canakkale-Gallipoli-The Dardanelles Campaign were many times Australian casualties; it gives overall war casualty figures at the end, not just the hackneyed number of ’62 000 Australian dead’; it brings home the family impact particularly poignantly with the suicide of the mother of the three missing soldier boys and the father’s regret at letting his sons go to serve King and Country; it sees the fighting as much from the Turkish as the Australian side; it gives us some international history (Greeks vs Turks) not involving Australians at all. While the Odyssey part of the story is far-fetched the ‘moral’ of the film is clearly anti-war and anti-jingoism. The treatment of Islamic culture is respectful and the Turks, when speaking to other Turks, are allowed to speak Turkish with sub-titles rather than English with hokey accents. The battle scenes are gruesome, as are the scenes of dying soldiers; they belie the gentle euphemism ‘fallen’ for deaths in such circumstances. While The Water Diviner is by no means flawless, its view of war contrasts nicely with the refurbished World War I galleries at the Australian War Memorial, an advertisement for which (using the orotund voice talent of Dr Brendan Nelson) preceded the movie at Dendy Canberra on Boxing Day. David Stephens