|Crowe delivers a solid little drama.
Directed by Russell Crowe
Produced by Andrew Mason, Keith Rodger and Troy Lum
Written by Andrew Knight and Andrew Anastasios
Starring Russell Crowe, Olga Kurylenko, Yilmaz Erdogan, Cem Yilmaz, Jai Courtney, Ryan Corr, James Fraser, Ben O’Toole and Isabel Lucas
Set during the Battle of Gallipoli and against its aftermath, Russell Crowe’s directorial debut begins in the Australian outback with Joshua Connor (Crowe), a humble farmer, and his family. Tensions are high in their land, and Connor’s three boys soon leave to fight in the war. After four years pass, his wife commits suicide, as their sons are presumed dead. Connor vows to find the boys and bring them home to rest with their mother. This leads him to Turkey, where he meets Ayshe (Kurylenko), a widow with a little boy. While he stays in her hotel, Connor partners with Major Hasan (Erdogan), a former enemy, to track down what’s left of his sons. It’s a difficult emotion journey, and Connor won’t have the strength to face it alone.
Russell Crowe’s work in film has gone mostly unnoticed in recent years, but he proves he’s capable of more than just delivering great performances on camera. While the film suffers from an unevenness in style and tone, the somewhat mishandled narrative ultimately reaches an emotional high that settles in quite nicely. Crowe is more than up to the task of playing the lead, but his co-stars are also worth mentioning. Olga Kurylenko, often relegated to various action films, is at her best, offering a performance that can only be overshadowed by her riveting work in To the Wonder. Meanwhile, Yilmaz Erdogan, whose previous work is largely unseen outside of Turkey, gives a rich, subtle portrayal, which will hopefully increase his acting profile. Simply put, this small passion project is an intimate story of family, and the film, despite some stylistic and narrative missteps, comes out largely unscathed due to the fine performances and assured work from actor/director Russell Crowe.
Oscar Potential: None