Title: The Dig

Year: 2021

Genre:  Biography | Drama  | History |

Runtime: 112 min

Director:   Simon Stone

Starring: Carey Mulligan, Ralph Fiennes, Danny Webb



As WWII looms, a wealthy widow (Carey Mulligan) hires an amateur archaeologist (Ralph Fiennes) to excavate the burial mounds on her estate. When they make a historic discovery, the echoes of Britain’s past resonate in the face of its uncertain future‎.


Netflix latest addition The Dig chronicles the story of a self-taught archaeologist who finds a ship and the emotion around amid the beginning of the Second World War, in the British Sutton Hoo 1938. Leading the film is Ralph Fiennes as the archaeologist together with Carey Mulligan, for the excavation in the mound. Directed by Australian filmmaker Simon Stone from a script by Moira Buffini based on the novel John Preston.

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As a slow burner, the pace is excruciatingly slow that time might go backwards. As the film itself explore a historical find, the film examines the reality of these characters. Bound with a slow pace, it dignifies a certain pace for the film to move forward. The film’s cinematography helps with it when it does move fast enough during it almost two hours of the screenplay. This is not an action film but it’s a dramatization, a slow-paced story that gently unveils itself and the humanity behind the characters.

Even with an acceptable performance from both Fiennes and Mulligan, its struggle to capture the audience to see its full potential becoming a feel-good drama. Occasionally, the writing lacks details that provoke emotions to keep the film interesting. The events take a long time and its easy to see scenes played out. The relationships evolve during a certain time yet, the emotional, British tone is still present. The aristocratic script clouds the character full intention and remains provocative during the whole film, as it and changes the outcome by every act-breaks.

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The direction could have been more flawless if it were not used by a predictable screenwriter where the actions are already known before the characters.  The costumes seem to be accurate for the appropriate time-periods in which it takes place. The sombre music is frequently used and sometimes overtakes the moment.  The arty, social English countryside makes the film good selling. It provides calm, realistic characters that make the story a lot more believable and the notion of details from the director. It’s not for everyone and doesn’t really convey a lot for an original movie but for what it is, sells for a compassionate biographic film that’s decent.

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