Russell Crowe comes out swinging with his narrative fiction feature directorial debut but fouls out as this war story drops off the deep end into the irretrievably maudlin. Screenwriters Andrew Knight and Andrew Anastasios are partly to blame, but Crowe should have known better.
The setting is Australia circa 1915, on the eve of the dreadful battle of Gallipoli. Russell Crowe plays Connor, a hardworking man of the earth, divining a living out of the parched and unforgiving Australian outback. He lives with his three sons who, like Connor, are the salt of the earth, and his wife Eliza (Jacqueline McKenzie) who is dedicated to her husband and sons. World War I is beginning “outside” and the boys are enthralled with the romance, adventure and heroism of war. (CONTINUED)