• Simon Stone’s The Dig features stellar performances, magic-hour photography, and some reoccurring overhead shot choices
  • Clearly Stone is an admirer of Malick- sun flares on the lens, the camera pushing through the blades of grass and shots at the just right time of day (magic hour)— this is the most sunshine I’ve seen in a British film- haha
  • Set in 1939—based on a true story of an archeological dig and find just as the outbreak of war against the Nazis looms— certainly the backdrop of war adds to the story’s immediacy
  • Stone goes to the overhead angle several times in his shot choice arsenal here—well done—in one scene Ralph Fiennes is nearly buried alive. Plus, the film is about the dig so it is key to get an aerial view of the site
  • A sublime stand-alone shot at the 39-minute mark as Carey Mulligan’s character gets her diagnosis – Stone’s camera remains at a distance in a medium-long shot obstructed by a window
  • Mulligan does good work here- and Fiennes is simply one of our finest actors over the last 30 years—he now has 18 films in the archives and the space between 2016’s Hail, Caesar! and The Dig is the longest quiet stretch of his career- but he seems poised to be an actor with 20-30 archiveable films including many career highlights that rank among the best work of that given year (even if this isn’t one of those)
  • The film does sort of stop being about Fiennes and shifts to the Lily James character—a weakness
  • Recommend but won’t be in the top 10 of 2021