Stylish Films: The Dig

The Dig is the latest high profile film from the increasingly prolific Netflix. Set just before the start of the Second World War in 1939, It has an impressive cast featuring Carey Mulligan, Ralph Fiennes, Lily James and Ken Stott, and is garnering some fabulous reviews and great word of mouth, showing that even if you can no longer go to the cinema, you can still enjoy the escapism of the movies.

The Dig is the story of the discovery of the Sutton Hoo treasure, found in buried Anglo Saxon ship on the Suffolk coast in a mysterious mound. The land was owned by a widow,  Mrs Edith Pretty, and she tasked an experienced but unqualified archaeologist Basil Brown with finding the treasure she was convinced lay under the strange mounds on her land. When treasure is indeed found, and when its age becomes apparent, the British Museum gets involved and Basil is initially pushed to the sides, although he is later able to resume his part in the dig. All this is set across the storm clouds of World War Two which are signified by the war planes that fly across the dig site, and the increasing frailness of a dying Edith Pretty.

The Dig is a beautiful film, one that has been filmed with almost a haziness to it that makes it very evocative of Summers past. The performances are wonderful, from Carey Mulligan, who is really far too young to play Mrs Pretty (who was in her 50’s rather than her 30’s at the time of the dig), and Ralph Fiennes as Basil Brown. There is also a rather tender love story between Lily James as the married Peggy Preston and Johnny Flynn as Mrs Pretty’s cousin Rory Lomax.

At a time when we are all in need of escapism, The Dig is just that. It is a slow, gentle film, almost a lament of times gone by, and one that is definitely worth pouring over on a Saturday night, whether you are a history buff or not.



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