Russell Crowe’s ‘The Water Diviner’ can be viewed as an insightful study of grief and loss.
In Part Five of this 6 part series, I began my reflection on the psychological journeys experienced by some of the supporting characters within the film. In this last part, I will finish my discussion of ‘The Water Diviner’.
Lieutenant-Colonel Cecil Hilton (played by Jai Courtney) is another veteran of the Gallipoli campaign. At the war’s end, we find him in command of the Commonwealth War Graves unit at Gallipoli tasked with locating and burying the remains of the Allied war dead on the peninsula. A necessary and noble task in itself, however, his work can be seen also as a form of atonement or appeasement to his own ghosts that he cannot escape. As an AIF Officer at the end of WW1, he would otherwise have been free to return home to Australia for discharge to resume his old life. But for Hilton, he is bound to Gallipoli as much as the bones of those soldiers that he is responsible for discovering are bound to the soil of Gallipoli.
And finally, Josh’s son Arthur Connor (played by Ryan Corr) is so tormented by his experiences at Gallipoli that he retreats from the world. Arthur finds solace in Sufism and his work as a craftsmen in a remote Turkish village.
Before I finish my treatment of this film, one of the most tantalising elements of the story came to my attention after watching the film. When talking about the film with a friend the next day, she mentioned that Connor’s character was inspired by a story of an actual father who went to Gallipoli after the war looking for his son’s grave.
The screenwriter came across the following historical reference that inspired the film. In April 1920, Lieutenant-Colonel Cyril Hughes of the Imperial War Graves unit at Gallipoli (upon whom Jai Courtney’s character ‘Cecil Hilton’ was based) wrote in a letter to Charles Bean (Official Correspondent and Historian to the AIF): ‘One old chap managed to get here from Australia, looking for his son’s grave; we looked after him and he’s pushed off to Italy now.’
Efforts were made to expand upon this single historical reference, however, the screenwriter was unable to identify the ‘old chap’ or his son.
Sometimes the best stories are the ones that are never quite resolved. Somewhere, out there, an ending is yet to be written.
Photo Copyright Details:
|Title: The_Water_Diviner_poster 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.|