Dig is available on digital platforms from September 26th.
Director K. Asher Levin’s Dig opens as a headstrong dad, Scott Brennan (Thomas Jane), storms into a high school party to take home his 16-year-old daughter Jane (Harlow Jane) before getting into an argument at a gas station that leads to the death of his wife, and his daughters hearing loss.
A year later, Jane no longer speaks due to her trauma, maintaining an understandable grudge toward her father. Meanwhile, the headstrong Scott attempts to build a bridge with his daughter by learning sign language but struggles to maintain an emotional connection. Scott takes work where he can, and when he is offered a house clearance and demolition job on an isolated home, the money is too good to turn down. Plus, it may provide an opportunity to build bridges with Jane as they work together to clear the site. However, as Scott and Jane begin the clearance, two violent, mask-wearing rednecks (Emile Hirsch and Liana Liberato) arrive with their own plans as they instruct the father and daughter to dig.
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Despite some hammy and enjoyable performances from Hirsch and Liberato, Levin’s movie never finds its voice among all the soil, spit and shovelling. From the outset, it’s clear that Dig aimed to explore the psychological damage of the initial tragedy and the rebuilding of a father, daughter relationship through a deadly hostage situation. However, the troubled relationship between Jane and Scott never takes hold due to the hurried opening and the lack of character development. Instead, the entertainment sits with Hirsch and Liberato’s violent Bonny and Clyde caricatures, with Hirsch keeping us engaged even when Dig begins to bury itself due to its faintly ridiculous story.
Levin clearly intended to offer us a desert noir thriller. Yet every creative choice appears to distract from this aim, from the bland cinematography to the odd choice of score. As a result, Dig never finds its voice and becomes a mundane paint-by-numbers thriller with a ridiculous conclusion.
Levin has clearly taken inspiration from the desert-noir, and while this inspiration is, at times, clear to see, Dig never finds its voice. The result is a mundane paint-by-numbers thriller with a ridiculous conclusion and a hammy screenplay.