The Gallipoli Artist, had the great pleasure of viewing Russell Crowe’s latest film effort, ‘The Water Diviner’, Being an avid historian of the Gallipoli Campaign, I found the opening scenes of the final charge of the Turks on 20 December 1915 refreshing compared to other movies on the conflict. As far as I know this had never been presented like this before. Moving onto the Imperial War Graves work of 1919 was interesting, only comment to make was that this team was originally led by the Official Australian War Historian Charles E.W. Bean, who didn’t rate a cameo.
The sets really provided a fantastic view of what the battlefield would have looked like in 1919, from my experience the film makers did a brilliant job. I also applaud their portrayal of life in Istanbul in post-war Turkey, the conservative attitudes of it’s inhabitants, the streets, the wonderful vistas.
The turbulent political upheavals that were just about to take place, the underground movements, the suffering of Turks both during and after the war were surprisingly very well done.
There seems to be some mixing up of several stories…. (don’t let the facts get in the way of a good yarn I say!) Australian POW’s were used to build the Taurus Mountains Railway and it’s tunnels. There is a story about an ANZAC actually making an escape by jumping over a waterfall and floating away, but they say his body was never found. I think that people should read further into these events and two great books come to mind…. ‘Gallipoli Mission’ by C.E.W. Bean (about the Imperial War Graves team in 1919 and post war Turkey) and ‘Lost ANZACs’ by Greg Kerr (about two brothers who fought in the opening battle for Gallipoli, one died on the day, another taken prisoner. He never knew his brother had died until after his repatriation) Both of them cracking good reads!
Okay just a couple of criticisms, more technical than anything…….
1) There are no Eucalyptus trees growing in Central Anatolia or Gallipoli.
2) When cannons are fired they create a lot of energy (recoil) The artillery pieces used by the Greeks seemed to fire a little flame and a puff of smoke.
3) Final scene…. no I wont ruin it for you!
So out of a possible ’10’, and from the perspective of someone that unfortunately knows a little too much on the subject, lol) I give it an ‘8.5’
Please take a look at it and hopefully take away from it the futility of wars and the need for tolerance towards those who live, pray, work and die differently to us. Eric Bogle wrote in his song No Man’s Land’
“The countless white crosses in mute witness stand
To man’s blind indifference to his fellow man
And a whole generation that was butchered and damned”
So Lest We Forget and forgive Russell his transgressions, it’s a GREAT MOVIE!!!!!!!