“The Dig” takes place against the dramatic backdrop of daily life in Suffolk, England during 1939. And tells a story about an amateur archeologist, and a wealthy woman who has multiple archeological sites on her property that she wants to explore.
Firstly, I am not a big fan of the title because it is too simple, and it seems that no effort was made to give it a decent name. Yes, you can use “The Dig” as a working title, but please come up with something more appropriate and clever for the actual title.
Now the main issue that I have with this movie is that “The Dig” is focused way too much on… yes you guessed correctly; digging. The process of the excavation is the core of this story. Now that shouldn’t surprise us given the title, but it is rather boring, dull, and flat. So surely you would think that other story-lines would be well developed aside from the actual excavation. Moreover, I would expect that this film would have an interesting plot structure because one can’t rely on conflict through digging only. However, none of this is the case because everything is very predictable, boring, and unoriginal. If it wasn’t for the magnificent directing skills, and setting “The Dig” would be digging its own grave to a 4/10.
Could it be the case that you would like this movie? Of course, but only if you are a hopeless romantic who loves strange, and complicated 1939 style interpersonal relationships. There is nothing wrong with liking this movie, but one has to understand that this kind of a story (plot structure) has already been used too many times. The entire structure of; polar opposites who need to cooperate to achieve a goal, which is hidden (The treasure hunt), they then succeed, but are again being confronted with adversity and decisions… I won’t spoil the rest. But we have seen this plot structure so many times already that you should add something to it which makes it more interesting. Maybe the digging should never have been the core of the plot. However, later on in the movie they introduce new characters, I assume because it became too boring of a story. These new characters have their own romantic struggles, and choices that they have to make. However, this feels so irrelevant to the story that this movie tries to tell us. To be honest, apart from the archeological excavations I have no clue if, or what this movie is trying to tell us. Maybe this movie is more of a showcase for the director?
I am really trying to find other good points but I can’t really think of one. The acting was simply too much at times. By this I mean that certain ‘intense’, or emotional scenes felt rather melodramatic. At other times it was ok, but nothing special. Now that I’ve come to think of it, melodrama, and romanticism is a very strange thing when combined with something dry like archeological excavations. I am sure that they could have made it work, but then you would need a much bigger budget. The other issue is that I think that they should have cut the fighter jet crash scene because it was already clear enough from previous scenes that England was about to go to war against Nazi Germany. In general there are too many unnecessary scenes, and in my opinion this could have easily been a 90 minute film instead of 112 minute.
Overall, there are better movies to watch if you are interested in melodrama-romanticism which takes place in 1939 England. And it isn’t the case that this movie is absolutely terrible, but it just doesn’t seem that it knows what it wants to achieve. It is obvious that the movie is about the excavation, but do you really want to see such a movie if it isn’t some insane high budget action movie like Indiana Jones? Maybe you do, but I have a real problem placing this movie because it doesn’t feel coherent, well structured, and interesting at all.
Director: Simon Stone. Writers: Moira Buffini (screenplay), John Preston (novel)
Categories: Film Reviews Cat