The Water Man Review

A middle of the road directorial debue

Actors becoming directors isn’t anything new to the film industry. Over the years actors have delved into the realm of directing. Some with great success, Clint Eastwood, Kevin Costner, Mel Gibson, and Robert Redford, and others not so well. With The Water Man, David Oyelowo takes his turn in the director’s chair. It is a relative success, but not overwhelmingly so.

Gunner (Lonnie Chavis) is a young man dealing with a sick mother (Rosario Dawson) and a father (David Oyelowo) trying to keep his house and family together despite his wife’s illness. Lonnie hears about a mythic character named The Water Man that has found a way to escape death. He sets out on an adventure to find out about The Water Man. During his adventure, he meets a young girl named Jo (Amiah Miller) who helps him along the way. 

This film is a small film originally released at the Toronto International Film Festival. The size and scope of the film are definitely very obvious while watching it. It has very good cinematography by Matthew J. Lloyd. With most of the film set in the woods and mountainous areas of California, Oyelowo turns this speck script by Emma Needell into a small family drama with a fantasy twist. It just lacks the teeth it needs to get viewers to fully bite on its story. As a directorial debut, it’s not a bad outing by any means, but it’s just not on the level as some great films that came before it.

David Oyelowo is of Nigerian descent, but he’s from Great Britain. He broke onto the Hollywood scene with 2014’s Selma. He later appeared in Queen of KatweA United Kingdom, and Don’t Let Go. He has proven over the course of his career that he has chosen feel-good films to star in. Starring in and directing The Water Man, he has done this once again. It is definitely a heartwarming story we all can get behind. The Water Man is also produced by Oyelowo and Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Productions. She doesn’t just back anybody or just any project. 

The Water Man is a heartfelt story with a twist. Most people are going to like this film for what it is — a good story with very good acting from its leads and a couple of cameos from Alfred Molina and Maria Bello. As a directorial debut, it’s solid — not great, but not bad either. Originally a Disney property, it makes sense in that regard. It definitely has a Disney vibe to it. It just doesn’t go the extra length to delve deeper into the father-son relationship between Gunner and Amos. It starts to but then bears off into the main storyline. The film would have served itself better for more biting dialogue between its actors.

4 stars

Dan Skip Allen

Thank You

Sean Boelman

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