Nothing Dry About This One
“When you’ve been lying about something for so long, it becomes second nature”.
Full of lies and secrets, Australian mystery thriller ‘The Dry’ is simply a must-watch. Enthralling from start to finish, The Dry kicks off what will hopefully be a great year in film and entertainment alike.
The film is directed by Australian director Robert Connolly and written by both Connolly and Harry Cripps.
The Dry hooks the viewer with its strong dialogue, dynamic plot-line, and an array of beautiful shots.
Based on the 2016 debut novel by Australian/British author Jane Harper, the film brings to life a truly captivating story with twists and turns aplenty. Harper even appears in the movie as an extra in the opening scene — which is a nice quirk!
It’s easy to say ‘the book is always better than the movie,’ but in this case the film does justice to Harper’s critically acclaimed novel, which has sold more than 1 million copies worldwide. It’s almost as if the novel was made for the screen, and Connolly renders the story in as much detail as Harper does.
Along with the strong detail, the film really showcases the vast landscape and harsh environment of Australia, which is so pivotal to Harper’s story.
The cinematography is wonderful with wide open plains and farmland at the forefront. Besides beautiful shots, Connolly finds that balance between deep dialogue, drama-filled action and moments of Australian humour.
The film is quintessentially Australian, displaying both good and bad aspects of Australian culture. If anything, ‘The Dry’ sometimes tries too hard in its depiction, making the film feel a bit cliche ‘Aussie’. The language used throughout is real Aussie slang, but this feels forced at times.
Eric Bana stars as Federal Agent Aaron Falk, who returns to the fictional town of Kiewarra in country Victoria to investigate a murder-suicide involving his childhood friend Luke Hadler. The case looks to be clear cut, but not all is as it appears in this small Australian town filled with deep — and sometimes dark — secrets.
Bana’s character is far from welcome on his return to the town he grew up in. Despite his title, he quickly becomes an outsider in what can only be described as a small town hierarchy. The federal agent joins the local Sergeant Greg Raco (Keir O’Donnell) to investigate the devastating recent events. The two form a great relationship in their pursuit of the truth.
Falk is not only trying to uncover the truth about the murders. He is also desperate to clear his own name and suspected involvement in the death of another childhood friend, Ellie Deacon (BeBe Bettencourt), 20 years earlier.
The film switches between present-day, drought-stricken Kiewarra, and the memories from Agent Falk’s childhood. A time when Kiewarra was filled with life and the river was filled with water! Despite looking so different, present-day Kiewarra is full of reminders and Aaron Falk can’t escape the traumatic events of his childhood. The constant flashbacks tell us a lot about not only Falk, but also the other characters and their evolution.
The mysteries of Ellie Deacon and the Hadler family run somewhat parallel to each other, which is a a device in both the book and film. As a viewer you become the detective, trying to work it all out as it’s unfolding.
When the credits started to roll, I could finally take a breath after being on edge for the entirety. Because of Eric Bana’s performance and the forever changing mystery, you couldn’t help but be completely immersed in the story.
If you haven’t been to the cinema in 2021, do yourself a favour and go along to this Australian film. The movie runs for 117 thrilling minutes.
I’m giving The Dry 4/5 stars.