The soil in this gripping Australian crime drama might be dry and barren, but it proves to be very fertile ground for tension and mystery in ‘The Dry’.

Aaron Falk (Eric Bana) is a federal agent plagued by an unresolved trauma from his past. When one of his oldest friends is the culprit of a seemingly straight forward murder suicide, it forces him to return to the small rural community he once fled from. Old wounds are ripped open and new dangers surface when the current investigation uncovers long hidden truths.

Based on the best-seller by Jane Harper this tense drama knows how to set-up a compelling central mystery. Two even, as Aaron revisits what happened in the past while trying to figure out if his friend really did kill his wife and child before offing himself.

Robert Connolly’s film knows exactly what kind of movie it wants to be. Tonally it never strays from its genre restrictions, which is both somewhat disappointing and its best trait at the same time. As I stated before; the mystery at the core is very compelling, but because the building blocks are so familiar it’s hard to be extremely surprised by the twists and turns. Pay attention and it won’t be too difficult to figure out a key plot twist about fifteen minutes before the screenplay pulls back the curtain. Yet it’s hard to deny that every element fits perfectly and the sun soaked cinematography provides the perfect setting for this sort of brooding story.

The familiarity of the plot doesn’t stop the tension from crackling beneath the dry surface of this taut Australian crime drama.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Review – The Dry

Reviewed online, April 1, 2021. Rating: MA15+. Running time: 117 min.

PRODUCTION: (AU) A Roadshow Films release of a Made Up Stories, Arenamedia, Cornerstone Films, Film Victoria, Media Super, Pick Up Truck Pictures, Screen Australia production. Producers: Eric Bana, Robert Connolly, Steve Hutensky (p.g.a.), Jodi Matterson (p.g.a.), Bruna Papandrea (p.g.a.). Executive producers: Meryl Metni, Andrew Myer, Ricci Swart.

CREW: Director: Robert Connolly. Writers: Harry Cripps, Robert Connolly, Samantha Strauss (based on the novel by Jane Harper). Cinematography: Stefan Duscio. Editing: Alexandre de Franceschi, Nick Meyers. Music: Peter Raeburn.

CAST: Eric Bana, Genevieve O’Reilly, Martin Dingle Wall, Keir O’Donnell, Bruce Spence, James Frecheville, Matt Nable, Sam Corlett, Jeremy Lindsay Taylor, John Polson.

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