Russell in the driving seat
Rugged farmer Joshua Connor (Russell Crowe) possesses a rare gift for divining water, which he uses to irrigate the sprawling property he shares with his wife Eliza (Jacqueline McKenzie) and three sons Art (Ryan Corr), Edward (James Fraser) and Henry (Ben O’Toole).
The boys head off to war and perish in the ill-fated clash with Turkish forces on the Gallipoli peninsula.
Their final resting places are unknown, like so many who fought, and Eliza is devastated. Joshua honours a promise to his wife to bring the remains of their boys home.
He seeks lodgings in Constantinople at a hotel run by Muslim widow Ayshe (Olga Kurylenko) and her cherubic son Orhan (Dylan Georgiades).
Unfortunately, the military refuses to allow Joshua safe passage to Gallipoli so he ignores protocol and makes his own way. There he clashes with Australian Lieutenant Colonel Cyril Hughes (Jai Courtney).
Unexpectedly, a visiting Turkish officer, Major Hassan (Yilmaz Erdogan), takes pity and pledges his assistance to reunite Joshua with his boys.
The romantic subplot doesn’t work and its resolution is unintentionally hilarious. but Crowe’s first foray in the director’s chair shows promise.
Star rating: 6/10