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The Dig Movie Review: Another great must-watch drama?

The Dig Movie Review: Another great must-watch drama?

the dig movie review

The Dig is not about unearthing the past or even the present. But it’s about the future. Set on the countryside of British grounds that is preparing itself for an upcoming war. Are these men and women playing around in the dirt?

With the land to her name and curiosity of the mounds on her soil. On the premise of a ‘feeling’, the female protagonist is particular about a certain mound to be excavated. With the help of a local self-taught excavator, the task gets underway with abrupt twirls, tinges of dominating power of a higher authority, some misogynistic statements, and some bold female actions to balance it out. The Dig portrays the real-life stories of these Archaeologists. As the plough, not just the land, but harrow up their lives as well.


the dig plot

 Basil Brown, a novice archaeologist, and excavator who had learned the skill from his father and him from his grandfather. He was hired by Edith Pretty who owned land in Suffolk. Her keen interest in artifacts and antiquities. And also, a sense of feeling that she has grown towards a particular piece of an area in her property. That prompts her to open a way to oversee an excavation undertake. What started probably as an inconsequential task soon turned into a major project. Bringing in neighborhood notability and consequently national interest.


the dig film making

The typical English language of the 1930s and the scenic beauty shots set appropriately to fit the era. With a combination of well-knit brit clothes and relationship ties, Simon Stone takes the audience on a ride needling authentic reality and slipping thought-provoking proposals. What really stands out is the introduction of characters in regular intervals. They bring their own story into the film. Weaving together along with the main plotline of the excavation, the discovery of ancient artifacts, a mourning widow, an illicit romance, a fatherless child, and a terminal illness.

Characters and Cast

Carey Mulligan replaced Natalie Portman who was set to play the character of Edith Pretty after the rights of the movie were bought by Netflix. Carey as Edith Pretty and Ralph Fiennes as Basil Brown have breathed life into The Dig. Their calm and composed endeavors, subtle body language, and tranquil speech delivery rejuvenate the already well-toned plotline. Also, their relationship plays out well. Their kindness to each other and there is enough love. Not to be romanticized but the kind to be adored.

Archie Barns as Robert Pretty (the young son of Edith), has probably given one of a distinct kind of performance. Handling the character of a fatherless child with a keen sense of playfulness of his youth. Along with having an understanding of the pain that his mother goes through with an eye to look out for her.

As the movie builds up, characters are thrown into to carry on with the task of sustaining the plot ship steady. Lily James portrays the role of Piggy Piggott. She brings with her hope of succeeding in the patriarchal archeological business. She is joined for the excavation by her husband Stuart Piggott (Ben Chaplin). And they both experience knots in their marital relationship.

Johnny Flynn as Rory Lomax is Edith’s cousin who puts in hands to help with the excavation. As he awaits a call from the Royal Air Force for the upcoming World War II.

The Book

the dig book

 The Dig is based on the novel by the same name which was written by John Preston in 2007. The novel itself is rephrased literary work of the real-life incidents that took place in the late 1930s. John Preston is the nephew of Peggy Piggott who was part of the excavation that was undertaken. Moving onto the Book or the Movie discussion, we would prefer the movie this time.

Not taking any credit from John Preston’s novel away. But an archeological film with its dramatic depiction of digs and tills. The movie helps with a better and clear picture and understanding of the excavation. Mixed along with the different side stories that bring in the possible tinges to spice up the narrative. Given that John Preston had access to the excavation story first hand it creates. No doubt about the authenticity or realism in the book as well as the movie.

What was different in this movie but could’ve been better

The storytelling is unwavering and at the same time with chunks of escalation. There a number of scenes that overlap each other. While it was a unique and valiant effort by Simon Stone (Direction) and Mike Aley (Cinematography). But at times seem out of tune and without any purpose.

The audio and visual scenes intercut each other at points. While characters were still in conversation the camera cut to a third character. Which totally is off that conversation or given point of context. Making it confusing at the same time lackluster to watch. In one such particular scene, Rory and Basil are having a conversation at the excavation site. And the camera cuts to Edith in her bedroom while the conversation still carries on.

We are always in for experimentation and want to experience creative elements. But this right here, this given format could have been executed way better.

With an exemplary cast performance, detailed interface, soothing background score, and thought-provoking dialogues, The Dig is an ideal present-day watch with a grasp of history to it. The Dig does not just find artifacts from the Anglo Saxon era but also helps the people find themselves.

Death might be the ultimate for all of us. But we all leave back something for someone, to be dug.


Direction: 3.5/5

Background score: 4/5

Acting: 4/5

Overall rating: 7.5/10

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Reader. Writer. Observer. A cup of coffee, an exploring mind, and a good pen makes my soul happy!


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