The Dig

Carey Mulligan is on quite the roll.

The actress just appeared in the sensational Promising Young Woman movie at the end of 2020, and now she stars in the newest Netflix film, The Dig, a true story about the discovery of a buried Anglo-Saxon ship just prior to the beginning of World War II.

Edith Pretty (Carey Mulligan) wanted to hire an excavator Basil Brown (Ralph Fiennes) to excavate the mounds on her property at Sutton Hoo. She believes there are treasures in the mounds. Brown bonds with Edith’s son Robert (Archie Barnes). When they make the massive discovery, everything changes.

The Dig is a fantastic film with some wonderful characters dealing with pain and loss and worry. Carey Mulligan was amazing once again and Ralph Fiennes plays off her so well. There is a couple of wonderful scenes from young actor Archie Barnes, who brings the emotions of loss that is brought forward from an airplane crash.

There is an interesting secondary romance involved here as well including Edith’s cousin Rory (Johnny Flynn) and one of the archeologists on site, Peggy (Lily James). Peggy was involved in a marriage where her husband was too connected to his work and we see her loneliness develop. This was a solid secondary story in the film that build more tension with everything around it.

There is not necessarily one simple throughline of a plot here though as there are several subplots that are brought together in the story. We see the events of this group of characters’ lives and they are mixed together around the idea of this dig. I found the lack of a central narrative a little weak, but the subplots are all so intriguing and well done that it did not bother me that much.

The cinematography and the images of the British countryside are beautiful and elegant. It is a visually stunning film that places these characters into some exceptional settings. There is a plane crash involved in the film too and the sequence of Rory trying to save the pilot is one of the most dramatic instances of the film.

As I said, the scenes are all so great (one with Ralph Fiennes being buried alive is utterly tense) that you aren’t bothered with the limited overall narrative.

The Dig is a very entertaining and lovely film with some top of the line performances of a cast that strong together some brilliantly written scenes into a engaging, if not completely connected, canvas.

4.2 stars

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