With about 40 films under his belt as an actor, an Oscar and several nominations, Russell Crowe now adds film director to his resume with The Water Divinera sweeping, humane and riveting tale that reminds you of the big and bold movies of the past that we loved. Or at least loved before Hollywood discovered gold in them thar comic books. As I say in my video review above, Crowe has delivered a real crowd pleaser that I think for him is a triumph in every way, particularly as a first-time director of a large- scale movie.

Crowe also stars as Australian farmer Joshua Connor, who makes a graveside promise to his wife that he will find the bodies of their three sons, who were lost four years earlier in WWI’s notorious Battle of Gallipoli, and return the bodies home to be buried next to her. His wife was driven mad by the fact that none of her sons returned from that fight and committed suicide. Connor’s journeyDeadline Review Badge Pete Hammond takes him to Turkey, where a stop in Istanbul leads to a unique relationship with a beautiful woman (Olga Kurylenko) and her young son, whose father also never returned from the war.  Connor is also helped by a sympathetic Turkish officer (Yilmaz Erdogan), even though the Ottoman Turks were the Australians’ enemy during the war.

The film, made on an epic scale and shot by Oscar winner Andrew Lesnie (Lord Of The Rings trilogy), shows both sides and tries to show how everyone suffers loss in war. The Water Diviner examines the human cost and the need for closure. The title refers to Connor’s unique ability to find water underground, a talent that helps immeasurably in searching for his buried sons.

The original screenplay is by Andrew Knight and Andrew Anastasios, who were also executive producers. Producers are Andrew Mason, Keith Rodger and Troy Lum. Other exec producers include Brett Ratner, whose Ratpac Entertainment was one of several producing entities on the film.

Warner Bros releases the film domestically on Friday, although it has already played much of the rest of the world, including Australia, where it won Best Picture and two other Australian Academy Awards. Crowe won Best Actor from the Film Critics Circle of Australia.

Do you plan to see The Water Diviner?  Watch my video review above, and let us know what you think.