Friday, April 24, 2015


The Bottom Line: Part war film, part romance and part family reconciliation, Russell Crowe pulls double duty as both director and actor in this intriguingly graceful flick about love, loss, hope, grief and closure.  Although his freshman attempt at the helm may get clunky from time to time – nothing to jarring for general audiences, mind you – he still managed to deliver a gorgeously filmed (Australia and Turkey are the two main backdrops here) and competently effective flick about family.  Epic in scale, with a decidedly old fashioned flair – very little is out of place, over the top or in your face.  Every character evolution has depth and each scene is given time to unfold to its touching, brutal or even comical conclusion.  Crowe, as expected, does a marvelous job on the acting front as a purpose-driven man dealing with heartbreak and desperation.  His performance is as sincere and soft-hearted as it is stoic.  There are a few awkward directorial choices (uncomfortable close-ups and camera angles), a couple of meandering narrative hiccups and a heart that could have pounded louder for loved ones both lost and found…  But in the end, I was indeed entertained and full credit goes to Russell Crowe for working both sides of the camera to (almost) full effect.

BTMG side recommendation: As this movie deals with the 5-years hence aftermath of World War I’s Gallipoli Campaign, I highly recommend – at some point – checking out Peter Weir’s masterful Gallipoli (1981) starring Mel Gibson.

Starring: Russell Crowe, Olga Kurylenko, Jai Courtney and Yilmaz Erdogan
Directed by: Russell Crowe
Rated: R
Running time: 111 minutes
Story: In 1919, Australian farmer Joshua Connor (Russell Crowe) goes in search of his three missing sons, last known to have fought against the Turks in the bloody Battle of Gallipoli. Arriving in Istanbul, he is thrust into a vastly different world, where he encounters others who have suffered their own losses in the conflict: Ayshe (Olga Kurylenko), a strikingly beautiful but guarded hotelier raising a child alone; her young, spirited son, Orhan (Dylan Georgiades), who finds a friend in Connor; and Major Hasan (Yilmaz Erdo?an), a Turkish officer who fought against Connor’s boys and who may be this father’s only hope. With seemingly insurmountable obstacles in his path, Connor must travel across the battle-scarred Turkish landscape to find the truth and his own peace.
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