An Australian man travels to Turkey after the Battle of Gallipoli to try and locate his three missing sons reported missing in action, where he forges a relationship with the beautiful Turkish woman who owns the hotel in which he stays. Holding onto hope, he must travel across the war-torn landscape with the help of a Turkish Officer, himself a veteran of the battles.Written by
Despite all their research and planning, one thing the filmmakers could not control was the southern Australian weather, which could be both capricious and severe. Actor Yilmaz Erdogan recalled: "We had four seasons in a week: heat, wind, rain, sudden dust storms...It wasn't easy, but I loved it." See more »
The British Occupation troops in Constantinople/Istanbul are armed with very rough and obvious mockups of the fully stocked .303 caliber Short Magazine Lee-Enfield rifles which were correct for their unit and period. "Giveaways" making the mockups obvious include: wrong bolt action; lack of the large charger bridge on the action; lack of the distinctive protective "ears" on the backsight; two fore-end bands where the real rifles had only one; incorrect buttstock; incorrect profile of the distinctive angled 10-round magazine which projects below the action on real SMLE rifles. Presumably mockups were necessary because armourers could not source sufficient stocks of the correct model of Lee-Enfield rifle in Turkey. See more »
Lt-Col Cyril Hughes:
We lost over two thousand men in those four days at Lone Pine. The Turks lost seven thousand. We didn't take too many prisoners either. I don't know if I'd forgive any of us.
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A beautiful, heart-wrenching journey to all those that love the art of cinema.
One does not have to be Turkish or an ANZAC descendant to be interested and touched by this film.. doesn't need to be necessarily interested in history, either. The Water Diviner offers something for everyone who carries a heart and soul. It offers a beautiful yet heart-wrenching journey to all those that love the art of cinema.
If I were asked "what is this movie about?" I'd say it's an epic tale of love and hope, a beautifully crafted story inspired by real life, and a breath-taking masterpiece that makes you forget where you are, or what time/day/year it is. It really is a captivating film. The story itself may sound rather simple to some, but in my opinion it's a spectacular mix of reality and art. Hats off to Andrew Anastasios and Andrew Knight for their great work, the Water Diviner tells a magical tale and reminds us what wars do to people, to families.. and to our humanity. I cannot imagine anyone who won't be touched by this film, touched very deep inside, that is. Whoever that ever loved somebody or lost a beloved one –sibling, parent, child, significant other, or friend, you name it– may have their heart shattered during certain scenes of the Water Diviner.
Apart from the story, the characters too felt so "real", and the cast performances were nothing short of what one would expect from such brilliant names. Russell Crowe, as always, seemed to "live" the role, not "just act" it.. and I'm so very glad that Cem Yilmaz has been in such a special project. In an attempt to keep my review as short as possible, and choosing to comment on acting after I see the movie more than once, I won't go into detail of each and every name. But.. I have to say that Ryan Corr's performance was outstanding! He and James Fraser certainly nailed it, causing a flood of tears among the audience –during a certain scene of this duo, I could hear sniffles and see shoulders shaking among the audience.. and I'm not exaggerating one bit. Speaking of the scenes that certainly leave a mark on the viewer, I'd like to say that certain scenes from the battle field were spectacular – both technically and artistically. The scenes are so "real" that they take you from your seat and put you on Lone Pine battlefield , feeling scared.. helpless.. angry.. and questioning what a war is.. and if it's even worth it. And then, there is a specific scene which reflect how a war can make people lose their humanity and surface the ferocity of human nature. As my favorite scene from the epic Noah, the creation scene, reminded us all: "Brother against brother. Nation against nation. Man against the creation. We murdered each other. We broke the world, we did this. Man did this."
The fascinating art is not limited to battle scenes, though. Andrew Lesnie simply works miracles, turning the movie into a feast for the eyes –from the dust storm in Australia to the breath-taking views of Istanbul, the Water Diviner presents top-quality cinematography *thumbs up* Before I wrap up my words on this beautiful piece of art, I'd like to mention two of the many special scenes which may well be extra-touching for the Turkish: i) The scene where Jemal (portrayed by Cem Yilmaz) raises a toast to Mustafa Kemal: During the screening at the Istanbul premiere, the audience responded to this by loud and clear applause, and it certainly will remain an unforgettable scene for many, many Turks. ii) Another special part of the movie that I really loved is the old Turkish folk song Jemal sings –an old song called "hey fifteen year olds", telling the story of 15 year old boys leaving home to join the battle of Gallipoli.
Taken together, the Water Diviner tells a tale of love mingled with adventure, delivers a sea of emotions from grief to hope, and works the magic of cinema, reaching the viewers' heart and mind in a way that crosses all barriers of language, different cultures, politics, and history.
PS: the Water Diviner was rewarded standing ovation, and I believe this was not only because it's a great movie, it was also a heart-felt "thank you" to the director for such an honest story which the Turkish audience isn't used to seeing in foreign films about Turkey and its history.
Kudos and hats off to Russell Crowe & the entire cast and crew. The Water Diviner (Turkish title: Son Umut, i.e. 'the Last Hope') is a spectacular movie, a must-see, a masterpiece.
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