The Dig

Tagline : Nothing stays lost forever.

Runtime : 112 mins

Genre : Drama History

Vote Rating : 6.9/10

Movie Website

Reviews for this movie are available below.

Plot : As WWII looms, a wealthy widow hires an amateur archaeologist 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.

Cast Members

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Before watching this film, I had absolutely no idea who Basil Brown (Ralph Fiennes), Edith Pretty (Carey Mulligan), or even Peggy Piggott (Lily James) were and what they did. As an engineer and a science enthusiast myself, I rarely struggle to find some sort of enjoyment in movies based on true stories about scientific discoveries, technological advancements, or impactful historical events. Therefore, despite a premise that doesn't immediately catch my attention, Simon Stone does a wonderful job in making this film quite interesting. Mike Eley's cinematography produces some of the most gorgeous shots of the year, transforming The Dig into a visually satisfying movie to look at. The main narrative focuses on the excavation itself and the findings of a shockingly old (Anglo-Saxon) ship, which turns out to be more captivating than I ever anticipated. However, the romantic subplot involving Peggy Piggott feels out-of-place and rather dull considering the objective of this film. It really hurts the overall pacing, dragging an otherwise well-balanced flick. Moira Buffini's already excellent screenplay is still elevated by the remarkable cast. Fiennes (Harry Potter) and Mulligan (Promising Young Woman) share a heartwarming chemistry that really suits their characters. Lily James (Rebecca) also demonstrates her impressive emotional range once again. Overall, I recommend it to any viewer who's interested in knowing more about the real-life story or who's simply a fan of this specific genre. Rating: B

The Dig reminded me of another movie about archaeology and which was not only also based on a true story but also involved a woman’s contribution to that scientific field. That other movie was Ammonite, about a woman archaeologist in a time when women were more than rare in that field of endeavor. Unlike that character, however, Edith Pretty in The Dig does not do the work herself. Instead, her interest in archaeology and curiosity about the mounds on her property leads her to hire Basil Brown, a self-trained archaeologist, or “excavator,” as he refers to himself in the film. I enjoyed the movie despite —or perhaps even because of its relaxed pace and subdued action. If you are sleepy but decide to watch a movie instead, you may want to save this foils for a more alert viewing. As with most biopics and other films based on true events, changes have been made to spice up the telling. Apparently some of them occurred first in the novel it is based on. For example, because some sort of “bad guy” is required for most movies, the British Museum seems to be depicted in a slightly more adversarial role than what was the case. Also, because a romance didn’t occur between the main characters, a romance was invented between two of the supporting characters. And of course actress Carrie Mulligan was 20 years younger than Edith Pretty was at that time, but they do use makeup to age her somewhat. Changes like this are to be expected. The result is a movie that is both entertaining and, dare I say it, a little educational all at once.

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