The Dig (2021) Movie Review

Director: Simon Stone

Writer: Moira Buffini (Screenplay) John Preston (Novel)

Starring: Carey Mulligan, Ralph Fiennes, Lily James, Johnny Flynn

Plot: An archaeologist embarks on the historically important excavation of Sutton Hoo in 1938.


Tagline – Nothing stays lost forever.

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Dig starts as Edith Pretty (Mulligan) hires Basil Brown (Fiennes) to excavate the mounds in Sutton Hoo. Basil isn’t qualified as an archaeologist, but his has the experience in excavating, his skills have drawn Edith to want him to work on the dig.

When the team finds the beginnings of a boat, it draws everyone into the search, seeing Basil needing to decide if he just wants to be part of the discovery or not. Before the team discover one of the most famous discoveries of the century.

Thoughts on The Dig

Characters & Performances – Edith Pretty is the land owner that has been looking for someone to complete the work her and her husband looked to do, excavate the mounds on her land. She is sick, which is starting to catch up with her, looking to get the right person involved in the dig. She watches over what is being discovered, using the law to make sure the right thing is done. Carey Mulligan is having a great year, with another brilliant performance after Promising Young Woman. Basil Brown is the excavator hired by Edith to help her with the dig, he has worked around the world bringing a calming presence to the dig. He becomes a positive role model on Edith son, Robert and is looking for a chance to have credit for his work. Ralph Fiennes is wonderful to watch here, he brings us a man that will always be searching to find something more from his life. We do get a host of people are end up getting involved in the dig, each with a different level of ability which will guide them and teach them about what they can discover by working together.

StoryThe story here follows a widowed mother that hires an excavator to help her with a dig involving a series of mounds on her land, which will lead to one of the biggest discoveries of the century. This is a story that is here to show how important certain discoveries are in the world, there is no doubt this was a huge moment in history. The problem with this story is that is gets side tracked with a romantic angle involved two people we barely to get know, leaving the main characters to either spend time digging or watching digging, nothing else. When we have a more serious side happen, we get the big conversations, which are the best part of the film, but this gets bogged down by a side of the story we don’t need.

ThemesThe Dig is a drama that showed two people Edith Pretty and Basil Brown who were the first two people to discover a part of history, it will show how they would go down in history with what they found, but does seem to skip over the side of the story, which revolved around getting one of the names seen. The settings take us to a place where we can fully believe what would be going on in the background of the impending war, showing the new dangers that might come this way.

The Dig is a slow moving drama about one of the biggest discoveries of all time, which gets caught up in a romantic subplot, which goes nowhere.

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