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The Dig

by Jenalyn Reyes

On Jan. 15, Netflix released the film “The Dig,” which was directed by Simon Stone. “The Dig” is a period drama based on a book by John Preston, which is based on true events.

The film is set in 1939 during the months leading up to Britain going to war on Germany. The widow Edith Pretty (Carey Mulligan) hires archeologist Basil Brown (Ralph Fiennes) to excavate the mysterious mounds on her property. As Mr. Brown uncovers more of what is underneath, news spreads that there might be an Anglo-Saxon ship on Mrs. Pretty’s property. Eventually the British Museum takes over the excavation project, and more people arrive to help dig up the mound. The new workers include Mrs. Pretty’s cousin, Rory Lomax (Johnny Flynn), who also takes photos of the project. Meanwhile, Mrs. Pretty finds out that her health is failing and she may die soon, leaving her son, Robert (Archie Barnes), without both of his parents. Furthermore, Rory gets accepted into the Royal Air Force (RAF) as talk of war increases, leaving Mrs. Pretty concerned over who will look after Robert in her place. As more of the ship gets uncovered, Mrs. Pretty requests an inquest and obtains rights to all treasures found in the Sutton Hoo ship burial. However, she ultimately decides to donate the artifacts to the British Museum with the request that Mr. Brown is properly acknowledged for his work on the project. At the end, Britain officially declares that they are going to war, and Mr. Brown hides the excavation site to preserve it from potentially being targeted and attacked.

The film deals with themes of mortality and legacy. As the characters uncover a great artifact, they become increasingly aware of their own existence as people who are living in history as it is being made. Several characters wonder what the future will remember of them and what will be left behind after their deaths. Though the film does not have much action, it is still a fairly enjoyable film that brings focus to the connection between past, present, and future.

 

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