Pre-WWII Historical Drama ‘The Dig’ Unearths Solid Performances

Julien Neaves, Editor

Plot: A wealthy British widow hires a humble amateur archaeologist/excavator to unearth ancient mounds on her property on the eve of World War II. The Dig is based on the 2007 novel of the same name by John Preston, and reimagines the events of the 1939 excavation of Sutton Hoo. 

Review: I am a huge fan of long-running British Sci Fi series Doctor Who and my first exposure to actress Carey Mulligan was way back in 2007 when she appeared as the enchanting, but sadly one-off, character Sally Sparrow in one of the series’s best episodes Blink. I recently watched her in the excellent Promising Young Woman and I was blown away by her masterful performance there. In The Dig, Mulligan appears as ailing single mother Edith Pretty and she is in fine from here as well.

Yes, this is quite a lot of dirt

Mulligan also has a breezy chemistry with Ralph Fiennes as excavator Basil Brown. The veteran actor, who has shown his range in heavy historical dramas like Schindler’s List and genre fare like the Daniel Craig Bond films, delivers a wonderfully understated performance as Brown. The lovely Lily James (Baby Driver, Rebecca) also does good work as archaeologist Peggy Preston who finds herself in a troubling love triangle.

The archaeological dig itself is intriguing and each of the main characters slice-of-life struggles are interesting and worth getting invested in. There are a couple of tense set pieces and some romantic drama but otherwise the film moves at an easy, almost relaxing pace. I compare it to the movie equivalent of a light breeze wafting over your face while sitting out on the porch.

Funding this excavation is really putting me in a hole. Get it? A hole? You get it

I thoroughly enjoyed The Dig and I was engaged throughout. And I highly recommend it for anyone interested in a well-crafted historical drama with heaps and heaps of heart.

Editor Jules’s Score: 8.5 out of 10

For more World War II-era historical drama you can check out Featured Writer Alice’s review of The Resistance Fighter by clicking here. Or for more Carey Mulligan you can check out Senior Writer Sommer’s review of Promising Young Woman here.

B0FC059B-BBEE-47CF-90E4-D588C1BACD93 Julien “Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. I can also be found posting about TV and movie memes, news and trailers on Facebook at Movieville. And to stay on top of all Redmangoreviews articles you can like and follow us on Facebook here.