The Water Diviner is the first film to be directed by Australian actor Russell Crowe, and he clearly has a knack for filmmaking. When he's not constantly singing in Les Miserables, Russell Crowe can really act. He's not just a brilliant performer, but now he's also a brilliant storyteller (even if the story isn't all that). Obviously taking inspiration and skills from the many brilliant directors he's worked with over the years, Crowe gives a solid effort both on the screen and off. When you work with directors such as Darren Aronofsky, Ridley Scott, Ron Howard etc. it wouldn't be all that surprising if you pick up a thing or two. Crowe most certainly does, giving us a directorial debut that's the start of what looks to be a sensational directing career.
There's also a lack of emotion too, which is something much needed for a lot of the movie, the war scenes in particular. The film fails to connect with us as an audience, despite many tragic events taking place. There's a bunch of crying to be had, but none that really hits hard. Russell Crowe is in tears every second scene, but as I was sitting in my seat I couldn't help but feel rather awkward, sitting there watching him ball his eyes out for a cheap attempt at stirring some emotion in the audience. That's the one area where Crowe fails in his directing, but I'm sure he'll improve over time. Hopefully, anyway.
This messy plotting also raised many questions about what the hell is actually going on. The Water Diviner, although made well, doesn't make a lot of sense. There's so many unanswered questions, the main one being how Russell Crowe managed to acquire some sort of magical ability to see into both the past and the future. He's constantly getting flashbacks and flash forwards of people he knows, mostly his sons, but they're memories he didn't attend to. He wasn't there and there's no possible way for him to know of the events.
To sum up, The Water Diviner is well made, featuring a solid effort from Crowe both in front and behind the camera, but it's a nonsensical and messy film that's just rather bland and uninteresting.