The Dry Review: A Meticulously Crafted Slow Burn Murder Mystery
Dry it is a meticulously crafted, slow-burning murder mystery set in the scorching landscape of a remote Australian city. Eric Bana delivers a brilliantly nuanced performance as a federal agent racked with pain and suspicion. Adapted from Jane Harper’s best-selling novel, Dry it explores two devastating crimes separated by twenty years. Everyone is a suspect, as dark secrets are laid bare in a harsh and unforgiving environment.
A horrific murder-suicide shocks the small rural town of Kiewarra. Luke Hadler (Martin Dingle Wall) shoots his wife and school-age son before committing suicide on a dusty river bed. Forgive your little daughter. Luke’s childhood best friend, Aaron Falk (Eric Bana), a minor celebrity researcher in Melbourne, returns home after a long absence. The locals are not happy to see it. He reconnects with Luke’s former girlfriend, Gretchen (Genevieve O’Reilly), as they try to come to terms with the tragedy. Luke’s parents refuse to believe that he is capable of such a crime. They beg Aaron to review the case headed by a friendly but novice cop (Keir O’Donnell).
Aaron’s homecoming forces him to recall another terrible event in his youth. The film recalls Aaron as a teenager (Joe Klocek). While Luke and Gretchen were a couple, he was in love with the beautiful Ellie Deacon (BeBe Bettencourt). The group swam and drank together in the desolate forests. As Aaron and Ellie’s romance blossomed, he invited her out on a river date. She never showed up and was later found drowned. In the present, Aaron faces a deep-seated mistrust as the murders reveal multiple sinister motives. The Dry Review
Dry it it’s an old-fashioned whodunit with a deliberate pacing. There are no catch-all moments or simplistic revelations. The tension simmers as the plot effectively runs through two timelines. We see how Ellie’s murder has eaten up Aaron’s soul. He buried his feelings and memories of her, but now he must face his past to solve the current riddle. Eric Bana plays Aaron with measured restraint. You can see the pain in his eyes, but the character refuses to succumb to his own feelings. Too much is at stake for it to fall apart. Bana’s subtle responses convey a torrent of exposure. It’s tremendous here, a reminder of his great talent and screen presence as the lead actor.
The Dry Review
Cinematography and editing are critical to selling the miserable, drought-stricken environment. Each scene is brownish yellow with intense overhead light. You can almost feel the oppressive heat and the lack of moisture. Director / Co-writer Robert Connolly (Deep state, The turn) focuses on barren farmland, dust swirls creeping over cracked earth, and smoke from distant fires lingering on the horizon. These scenes juxtapose images of teenagers swimming and kissing in literally fluid moments. Ellie’s death is a harbinger of the misery to come.
Dry it it does not disappoint in the final act. The intricate narrative never cuts corners. I really enjoyed the pace and attention to detail. Dry it It takes patience, but it follows the breadcrumbs to a satisfying and dramatic conclusion. Dry it is a Made Up Stories, Screen Australia and Film Victoria production. It will be released in theaters and on demand on May 21 from IFC Films.
The Dry Review
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