Russell Crowe’s film ‘The Water Diviner’ is a refreshing re-examination of the Anzac Myth from WW1. 2015 is the centenary of the ill-fated Gallipoli campaign whose psychological impact still echoes within Australian society one hundred years later.
‘The Water Diviner’ is the fictional story of a man’s search for the physical remains of his three sons reported killed in August 1915 during the Gallipoli Campaign. The film therefore extends the Anzac myth by substituting a focus on grief rather than conventional displays of military heroism. By changing the focus of the Anzac story, the film allows a broader exploration of loss and grieving. Indeed, the audience gets to feel the overwhelming sense of powerlessness experienced by the main character as he struggles to confront the enormity of his loss. And therefore it becomes quite believable that only an equally great gesture can be employed to counteract that grief.
To be honest, I was a little cautious about watching ‘The Water Diviner’. Russell Crowe’s films are released with considerable hype and with claims about their historical reliability. And while there are some major story problems with this film, with its multiple sub-plots and numerous plot devices that strain the viewer’s credulity, I was pleasantly surprised by the film itself. After a century, the Gallipoli Campaign remains shrouded in popular myth and misinformation. So much so, only a bold director would tackle such a project to tell a slightly different story – and Crowe’s previous movies haves displayed his willingness to explore alternate approaches to well-known stories.
‘The Water Diviner’ deserves a place in the canon of ‘Anzac’ Movies – alongside ‘Gallipoli’ (1981) and ‘Chunuk Bair’ (1992) – for its treatment of the Anzac legend.
***Story Spoiler*** in case you have not yet seen the film, watch out for Part 6!
In Part Two of this 6 part series, I will offer an overview of the film’s plot.
Photo Copyright Details:
Description: Poster for the film The Water Diviner
Date: 1 October 2014
Source: Wikipedia Commons, which derived the image from commingsoon.net.
This image is of a poster, and the copyright for it is most likely owned by either the publisher or the creator of the work depicted. However, this low resolution image is reproduced with the intention of providing a commentary on the film.