R | 85 min | Drama
Review - Matt Mungle
**In theaters August 28th*
Synopsis: The discovery of a bone and a gun send a husband and wife on separate adventures over the course of a weekend.
Review: The good news of the ultra indie film world is that friends can get together with a vague plot line and churn out a full length feature film. The bad news of the ultra indie film world is that friends can get together with a vague plot line and churn out a full length feature film. This is our future.
In DIGGING FOR FIRE we have this interesting concept that is a decent idea for a film; if something happened. But nothing ever really transpires over the 85 minutes. It is easy to get frustrated and look at the filmmakers as being pretentious. As if we the audience have nothing better to do than to watch their films, regardless of the entertainment value. We will watch it just to be cool. If you are not careful you will quickly become jaded and bitter. Which is never good for the genre.
Tim (Jake Johnson) and Lee (Rosemarie DeWitt) are house-sitting for friends when Tim unearths a gun and a bone on the property. He immediately suspects buried bodies and a crime scene while she thinks it is just a random find. When Lee leaves for a few days Tim has his drinking buddies over for some casual common place dialogue. He shows them his find and they spend the next several hours chugging beers, flirting with young girls, and looking for clues. The end.
Obviously Tim and Lee are at a stagnant time in their relationship. While apart they both find pleasure in chatting up and harmlessly flirting with members of the opposite sex. If this is supposed to be a twist in the plot it fails miserably. It comes across more like a disjointed side note than a deep character analysis.
As a huge fan of this casual, organic way of storytelling I was very disappointed in this one. I did not completely care for the characters or what happened. Even worse I was less intrigued by what Tim found than Lee was. There was very little to engage with. The film is only 85 minutes long which tells me that even the writers had little to say. They must have been at as big a loss of where to take the story as we were in watching it unfold.
When I mentioned that friends get together to make a movie I was not kidding. There are many familiar and respected actors in this one. Orlando Bloom, Sam Elliott, Judith Light, Brie Larson, Melanie Lynskey, and Anna Kendrick just to name a few. At first glance it is a super solid casting job. Again I love this film as a template for future film makers. I want to see the indie film world move to this type of art form. But the story has to be front and center.
DIGGING FOR FIRE is rated R for language including some sexual references, drug use and brief graphic nudity. It is an adult film for sure but little is offensive. The language being the main issue. Fans of Johnson should see it on VOD that will come sooner than later. I give it 2 out of 5 yawns. A how to text book rather than a ground breaking story.
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