With anticipation I tuned into the new film “The Dig” now streaming on Netflix, based on a true story of an archeological find on an estate in Sutton Hoo, England in 1939. The cast of characters include Carey Mulligan, Ralph Fiennes, Lily James, and cute Johnny Flynn.
Edith Pretty, the landowner, hires Basil Brown, played by Fiennes. He begins the dig, and eventually finds an Anglo-Saxon burial site, bringing the soon interest of museum officials from the London and Ipswich. The excavation produces some of the most important artifacts of its time. If you’re interested in the findings, visit the British Museum website or YouTube site to read more about the display of artifacts. It’s a Josh Gates dream.
As far as the movie, however, I found it a bit disjointed. The storyline has an underlying theme of death and what happens to us as we die. Edith is ill with a heart ailment that will eventually take her life. Her husband has died, and she often visits his grave. With a young son, she is distraught over the possibilities of leaving him behind, which feeds her curiosity about what we as humans leave behind when we die. As an archeologist, Basil speaks about the dead and how they always leave something of themselves for others to find — the dig being the example since it is a burial grounds. The movie attempts to create a romantic attachment between the two, but Basil is married. I viewed it more as an intimate friendship.
There is a sideline to the story that includes Johnny Flynn and Lily James, which is very short and brings little interest or addition to the story itself. As much as I enjoy Johnny, his character was a make-believe one in the film and probably could have been cut out. It does fill gaps in the two-hour running time, however,
What I found odd about this movie altogether is that the dialogue is often spoken without you watching the characters speak it. It’s like an overshadow of conversations they had together earlier, while you watch them presently looking at one another without saying a word. I found this extremely distracting and ill-timed. It had no value except to confuse the audience. The dialogue was mumbled as well and difficult to discern.
I found the dig itself far more interesting than the human interactions, although I understand the underlying thematic attempt the director was trying to make. Nevertheless, it’s worth the watch.