The Dig (2021) Review

By Stephanie Chapman

The new Netflix film “The Dig” is refreshing and showcases the brilliant acting of Carey Mulligan & Ralph Fiennes. Directed by Simon Stone and written by Moira Buffini, this film is not getting quite the buzz it deserves but makes up for it in heart and is a masterful attempt at a story about dedication, loyalty and love.

Carey Mulligan plays Edith Pretty, a seemingly wealthy widow who is raising her imaginative son Robert (played by Archie Barnes) alone. On her vast property lies several hills that she wants to have excavated and she hires Basil Brown (played by Fiennes) for the job. World War II is looming and local museums are eager to claim the credit for Basil Brown’s discovery. She faces personal struggles and triumphs that not only affect her, but also take their toll on her son, who has developed a fondness for Mr. Brown. Brown has taken the child under his wing and become somewhat of a mentor for him. 

Ralph Fiennes gives a clinic in each scene where his character is present. His character exemplifies a humble, talented, dedicated and honest man whose love for his work and his loyalty to others shine bright in a film that at time seems to struggle with which story it wants to tell.  

While watching “The Dig” it can be hard to pinpoint the exact theme the writers and directors are going for.  This film has heart and tells a compelling story about the work and challenges facing Mrs. Pretty and Mr. Brown but it also tackles additional stories that never gain enough traction. 

A marriage between 2 secondary characters faces its own struggles and Mrs. Pretty’s young cousin awaits his papers to join the military and eventually fight in the coming war.  It feels like those sub plots might deserve their own film or simply could’ve been developed in a way that would add to this film without feeling like an afterthought. It doesn’t diminish the impact of film so much as it might leave audiences wanting more and never delivers.

“The Dig” is a beautiful film that tells the story of 2 people who have been brought together through their dedication to preserve the past. The mutual respect they develop for each other is what drives the heart of this film and firmly lands “The Dig” in the running for one of the best films of 2021.

Listen to our full review of The Dig with Stephanie on Movie Reviews #220