'Water Diviner' a well of somber riches

April 23, 2015 3:40 PM

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Russell Crowe's feature directorial debut, "The Water Diviner," is a somber historical fiction about the aftermath of World War I's Gallipoli campaign, and everyone in it looks haunted and humbled. We will never know what they were like before the war, before they knew better, before they knew how vulnerable they were, and before they knew to think less highly of themselves. Crowe's direction captures this mood across all the performances, of people damaged and yet elevated, transformed against their will.

The movie comes together from several directions and takes time to cohere, but it builds to a tense emotional place. It begins behind the Turkish lines, in the last battle of the campaign, and then shifts to Australia four years later, to the sight of a man trying to find a source of water for his d...

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