There is a mature, and skilfully handled approach to the drama that unfolds when Joshua meets Turkish officers who were responsible for his grief, and this is the entry point for the cathartic drama, like many before it, demonstrates the true cost of war. Whilst some of the devices employed could have washed out the core message of the film Crowe has been careful to bring home the focus in a persuasive way. Admittedly it treads into melodrama territory, using broad emotional strokes to convey the magnitude of emotion, yet Crowe demonstrates a (perhaps unfairly) surprising level of skill as when to not push it too far. The inevitable love story between Joshua and Aysha is not out of place, given the approach to the material, but arguably is the least interesting aspect of the film, slotted in to make the horrors of the war flashbacks more palatable to the general cinema-going public. As a debut it is a remarkable effort, with Crowe showing a great deal of sophistication in handling the narrative, and will please a wide array of audiences who will connect with the father/son dynamic, and enjoy Andrew Lesnie's captivating camera work.
Joe Walsh | @JosephDAWalsh