Posted in: by Robert Horton, Contributors, Film Reviews

Film Review: ‘The Water Diviner’

Olga Kurylenko and Russell Crowe

Joshua Connor (Russell Crowe) is a dowser, a man who can find water in the Australian desert—a talent he will later employ when he goes searching for the bodies of his three sons, all lost on the same day in the disastrous World War I battle of Gallipoli. This supernatural touch isn’t really necessary to the film’s plot, and it’s a curious choice for Crowe (this is his directing debut). Part of Crowe’s immense credibility as an actor is how grounded he is—woo-woo stuff is really not for him. But the mystical hint is a sign of the film’s reach for significance, and of Crowe’s desire to say a few things while telling a very sincere story.

The Water Diviner follows Connor to Turkey, newly stripped of its status as the Ottoman Empire and now (in 1919, that is) overrun by British troops searching the Gallipoli battlefield.

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Posted in: by Robert Horton, Contributors, Film Reviews

Film Review: ‘The November Man’

Olga Kurylenko and Pierce Brosnan

Here we are in Berlin and Belgrade and Lausanne, and there’s Pierce Brosnan running through the streets. We have Russians, secret interrogation chambers, and terrorists. And microfilm! No, wait, that can’t be right—despite the trappings of Cold War espionage, this is a 21st-century movie. So it’s not microfilm, but something downloaded onto a thumb drive, which is much less fun to say than “microfilm.”

The November Man is strong evidence that sometimes a genre needs no excuses. This is not a great movie, nor perhaps even a particularly good one, but as the above litany of component parts suggests, it’s a straight-up spy picture with distinct attractions.

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