Despite my best intentions, I forever seem to neglect the “series” I start here. One of these is a Netflix feature during which I talk about something (usually a series/show) I’m watching on Netflix. Today we return to this with an “On Netflix: The Dig,” which is a historical period drama.
This drama features a top notch cast and an interesting story. The story follows Basil Brown (played by Ralph Fiennes), a rough-around-the-edges working man who has self-taught himself the task of excavation. In 1939, his latest job summons him to the country estate of the wealthy Edith Pretty (Carey Mulligan), a widow who is curious about the unusual formations on her property. Together, she, Mr. Brown and the people who come to help uncover a most unusual find.
There’s a lot to admire about this production, but there’s also some things that don’t “feel” right. Below I’m sharing some of the reasons why I feel this way in a kind of “pros and cons”
ON NETFLIX: THE DIG – FIVE OF THE PROS AND CONS
1: BACKGROUND INFORMATION & INTRODUCTION
One of the BIG things this film lacks in is the information the audience needs about these characters. I’m not sure if it’s important to this story (the actual archeology discovery), however the way the script throws us into this story AND its characters is a little bit… jarring. We know nothing about them and try to play “catch up” in the opening 15 minutes, which isn’t something we should have to.
For example, the story doesn’t mention Edith’s background (her enormous wealth) or that she’s an older woman than the audience realizes. We also don’t really know why no one like Basil Brown, but can assume it’s because he’s not “cultured” in the way other of the “experts” working the dig are.
On a more positive note, the cast is brilliant and not only includes Mulligan and Fiennes, but also Johnny Flynn (from the 2020 version of Emma), Ben Chaplin, and Lily James. They all turn in lovely performances.
This is the kind of film that one might call “artsy” or “indie.” It has that “deep thinking” quality, or at least it attempts to, and in doing this, the film asks silent questions or it leads to suggest certain story points (like, does Edith see possibility of remarriage for practical reasons?) without actually giving voice to these introspective thoughts. Some are interesting to ponder. The film also moves at a slow, sail-like pace.
4: LACKS CLARITY
One of the things that this film does in production, which I find more deterring than informative, is the dialogue. It’s like the next (visual part of the) scene begins before the dialogue of the previous scene ends, and so it’s like an “overlay” plays into the scene, and vice versa. Sometimes the scene continues into the next scene’s dialogue.
5: SWEET MOMENTS
Despite the more internal nature of the film, there are some sweet moments. Some do have a bittersweet tag attached, but moments between a boy and his mother under a night sky or a woman craving affection, there’s some good moments with the bad.
All this said, this film is, as a “big picture” production, The Dig is well made. Plus, of course, the acting is good, too.
There’s my thoughts on this ‘on Netflix: The Dig’ feature. Do you agree with anything or nothing? Have you seen the film; what are your thoughts on the character/story introduction? Comment all of your thoughts in the comments below!
On Netflix: ‘The Dig’ Uncovers Forgotten Historical Figure. Talking about the reasons I didn't (and a couple on why I did) like Netflix's The Dig. #Netflix #Adaptation #Movies #PeriodDrama #TheDigOnNetflix Click To Tweet
Content: there is some minor sexuality [brief and more obscured than not]. A character is homosexual, and two characters engage in affairs [minor]; we briefly see a woman unrobe in front of her husband. There’s an intense situation where a man is buried and nearly dies. There may be some minor profanity. The film is PG-13.