One of the major benefits of the streaming service is that it provides untried or untested filmmakers with the opportunity to see their films make a big splash in an audience pool that boasts hundreds of millions of subscribers. He may be a hugely accomplished actor in his own right, but David Oyelowo’s The Water Man is the latest beneficiary of gaining some serious traction on the world’s biggest platform.
Over the last decade Oyelowo has become a regular presence on our screens, deftly balancing broad genre work with acclaimed character work in projects as diverse as Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Lincoln, Jack Reacher, Selma, Interstellar and The Midnight Sky. Based on the strong reviews to have greeted The Water Man so far, it looks as though he’s well on his way to carving out a secondary career on the other side of the camera.
The plot follows a young boy who ventures into a remote forest to search for the titular mythical figure, who he believes possesses the secret to immortality and can cure his sick mother. Reviews have been generally strong across the board, with The Water Man holding a solid 77% score on Rotten Tomatoes, and it’s now the fourth most-watched title on Netflix around the world.
As you’d expect from a drama that boasts Oyelowo, Rosario Dawson, Alfred Molina and Maria Bello among the cast, the performances are being singled out for particular praise. The Water Man is a lot more thoughtful and introspective than the fantastical synopsis may have you believe, but it’s an accomplished directorial debut that delivers plenty of emotion and earnest sentimentality in the guise of a lo-fi fairy tale.