Taglines: A father’s journey in search of his sons.
The film opens in 1919, just after World War I has ended. Joshua Connor (Russell Crowe), an Australian farmer and water diviner, has located ground water on his land and is digging a well. Joshua’s three sons Arthur (Ryan Corr), Edward (James Fraser), and Henry (Ben O’Toole) served with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) at the Battle of Gallipoli four years previously and are presumed dead. Joshua’s wife, Eliza (Jacqueline McKenzie), unable to cope with her grief, commits suicide. Joshua resolves to bring his sons’ bodies home and bury them with their mother.
Joshua travels to Turkey and stays in a hotel in Istanbul run by war-widowed Ayshe (Olga Kurylenko). When Joshua contacts the British consul, he is told that Gallipoli, where his sons were killed, is off limits. Joshua grows closer to Ayshe’s son, Orhan (Dylan Georgiades). Ayshe warms to the Australian after learning why he is in Turkey. She suggests he bribe a local fisherman to take him to Gallipoli by boat. Joshua arrives in Gallipoli where he meets more resistance. The ANZACs are engaged in a mass burial detail and all civilians are banned. Major Hasan (Yılmaz Erdoğan), a Turkish officer assisting the ANZACs, persuades the ANZAC captain Lt-Col Cyril Hughes (Jai Courtney) to prioritize helping Joshua with his search.
Joshua sees in visions that Arthur was injured while returning to his trench. When Henry and Edward ran to his rescue, Henry was killed and Edward badly wounded. Joshua walks the battlefield and locates where they were gunned down. The soldiers uncover bodies, and Joshua sees skulls with bullet holes. An ANZAC sergeant implies that Major Hasan, who oversaw the defense in the area, ordered all casualties to be executed. Joshua attempts to assault Hasan but is stopped. Hasan recognizes Joshua’s surname and tells him that Arthur may have been taken prisoner.
Joshua returns to Istanbul to learn which prison camp Arthur was transferred to, but is unsuccessful. The British Consul tells him he is being deported for having traveled to Gallipoli. Joshua returns to Ayshe’s hotel. Her brother-in-law, Omer, is pressing her to marry him but she says she needs more time to decide. He loses patience and tells Orhan that his father was killed in the war. An angry Ayshe slaps him, and he attacks her; Joshua intervenes and Omer angrily retreats.
Ayshe lashes out, blaming Joshua for making things worse and tells him to leave. As Joshua leaves the hotel, Omer and a few of his friends gang up on him, only to be stopped by Hasan’s subordinate, Sergeant Jemal (Cem Yılmaz). Jemal takes Joshua to Hasan, who explains that the Greeks have invaded and they are going to defend their country as the British are not intervening. Joshua realizes they will be passing through the region where his son might be. He returns to the hotel to retrieve his bag; Ayshe apologizes for her earlier words. As the British come to escort Joshua back to Australia, he sneaks out and goes to Hasan.
The Water Diviner is an Australian historical fictional war drama film directed by and starring Russell Crowe in his directorial debut. The screenplay was written by Andrew Anastasios and Andrew Knight. The film is loosely based on the book of the same name, written by Andrew Anastasios and Dr Meaghan Wilson-Anastasios.
The film co-stars Olga Kurylenko, Jai Courtney, Cem Yılmaz, Yılmaz Erdoğan, and Jacqueline McKenzie. The Water Diviner had its world premiere at the State Theatre in Sydney, Australia on December 2, 2014. It opened in Australian and New Zealand cinemas on December 26, 2014. The film had a limited release in the United States on April 24, 2015.
The Water Diviner features a collaboration between Russell Crowe and Jacqueline McKenzie, reuniting them for the first time since 1992’s Romper Stomper. It was the final film from Academy Award winning cinematographer Andrew Lesnie, who died in April 2015, a week after the film’s U.S. release.
The Water Diviner
Directed by: Russell Crowe
Starring: Russell Crowe, Olga Kurylenko, Isabel Lucas, Jacqueline McKenzie, Megan Gale, Jai Courtney, Cem Yılmaz, Yılmaz Erdoğan, Deniz Akdeniz, Michael Dorman
Screenplay by: Andrew Anastasios, Andrew Knight
Production Design by: Chris Kennedy
Cinematography by: Andrew Lesnie
Film Editing by: Matt Villa
Costume Design by: Tess Schofield
Art Direction by: Çağrı Aydın, Marita Mussett
Music by: David Hirschfelder
MPAA Rating: R for war violence including some disturbing images.
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: April 24, 2015