review by Bobby Blakey
We just don’t get enough Eric Bana these days and if we are why am I missing it? His latest film The Dry from Paper Planes director Robert Connolly is based on the book by Jane Harper and features a great cast including Genevieve O'Reilly, Keir O'Donnell, John Polson, Matt Nable and Bruce Spence. Could this murder mystery find the flow it needs to solve the crime or will it dry up to quickly?
The Dry follows Federal Agent Aaron Falk returns to his home town after an absence of over twenty years to attend the funeral of his childhood friend, Luke, who allegedly killed his wife and child before taking his own life -- a victim of the madness that has ravaged this community after more than a decade of drought. When Falk reluctantly agrees to stay and investigate the crime, he opens up an old wound -- the death of 17 year old Ellie Deacon. Falk begins to suspect these two crimes, separated by decades, are connected. As he struggles to prove not only Luke's innocence but also his own, Falk finds himself pitted against the prejudice towards him and pent up rage of a terrified community.
I knew nothing about this film, but always enjoy seeing films set in locales that allow the actors to use their real life accents, in this case Australia. Actors like Bana have obviously mastered the ability to ditch their accent, but when they get to use it there just seems to be a more natural and comfortable performance that comes with it. Here Bana is subdues a bit as his character is dealing with loss and a troubled past that has now intertwined with each other. You can see the struggles in his mannerisms that show it is an inner struggle along with the determination to find answers and inner peace.
The film is a slow burn murder mystery that looks to connect a recent situation along with one that happened years ago. The structure is pretty simple, but well executed in its delivery and often time using misdirection of it where it is all heading. I have to say that it was a bit underwhelming in its finale, but it also plays up more like a real life situation instead of the Hollywood action spectacle. There is a great fire burn stunt in the film that looks great and its execution and design is one of the cooler ones I have seen in some time.
On the surface the film is not overly exciting, but it does offer up a good story that takes you on an interesting journey to the truth that is worth checking out. Decide for yourself and check out The Dry available now on Blu-ray and DVD from IFC Films.