It was with some trepidation that I went along to watch the directorial debut for Oscar winning actor Russell Crowe.
Ostensibly a story about an Australian man who travels to Turkey after the Battle of Gallipoli to try and locate his three missing sons, it’s also a anti-war film that illuminates the perspective of the Turkish people after their country is invaded in the First World War.
It’s a brave position to take in a country that obsesses over it’s ANZAC legacy, and it’s long overdue. It takes two sides ( or more) to fight a war, and the number of Turkish casualties are staggering
Crowe, as a Kiwi born, adopted son Down Under is the perfect candidate to fly the flag for the other side and he does so in admirable fashion.
The film is not without its overly sentimental elements, and these detract from the world class performances on offer from an excellent hand-picked cast including the superb Jai Courtney.
Watching Crowe in the lead role as Connor, a man beset with tragedy who refuses to give up hope that he might find his sons amongst the thousands of bones littering the battlefield at Gallipoli is asm mesmerising as anything else in his impressive body of acting work, and this is a solid first step to what I hope will be a long and successful career as a director too.
Audiences need men like Rusty, because he knows his way around a good story and has the grit and determination to get the job done right. Well done mate.
3 & 1/2 stars.