Please note that there are spoilers in this review.
In the first moments of "The Water Diviner" we realise that we are seeing conflict through Turkish eyes, and share their relief and exultation at the sight of the departing allied ships.
One aspect of this powerful film is its graphic depiction of the carnage, irrationality and the pity of violent conflict.
Cut to Joshua Connor (played by Russell Crowe) on his farm in the Mallee, Victoria, where his wife is still grieving the loss of their three sons, a grief which leads her to take her own life. In a memorable flashback we see him rescuing his boys from a dust storm. As they huddle together Crowe reminds them of lines from "The Arabian Nights" – the book which he reads to them at night.
Connor, whom we have seen searching for and finding water, with nothing to keep him in Victoria, sets out for Turkey, to search for his sons.
Connor finds himself in a boutique hotel in Istanbul, run by Ayshe (played by Olga Kurylenko) who is refusing to believe that her husband has been killed at Gallipoli, and resisting her brother-in-law's insistence that she becomes one of his wives.
Old enemies work together, with Connor, caught in the murderous territorial conflicts which were the aftermath of the war, befriended by and befriending Turkish soldiers, while being patronised and bullied by the British.
While his loss has made him only too aware of the tragedy and the futility of violence, Connor finds himself having to fight in order to ensure the survival of himself and his Turkish friend, and the film is in danger of sending mixed messages – about the futility of war, while also being an action thriller.
It is Crowe's performance which rescues it. He exudes understated integrity and strength. This is his first film as a director, and it is a powerful debut.