Aaron Falk (Eric Bana) is a cop returning home for the funeral of a friend who supposedly killed his wife and his son before turning the gun on himself. Aaron has a history with the town and his work in law enforcement hasn’t made him any friends. However, when Gerry (Bruce Spence) and Barb Handler (Julia Blake) tell Aaron that they don’t believe their son would have been capable of murdering anyone, he decides to investigate the case.
During his investigation, things start to remind him of a similar case that happened during his childhood and what with his home town being as secretive now as they were back then, Aaron starts to find it hard to uncover the truth.
The Dry is a drama directed and co-written by Robert Connelly with Harry Crips, based on the novel by Jane Harper. With its police procedural format, it’s the performances from Bana and Genevieve O’Reilly as Aaron’s childhood friend that drive the film.
Set during a drought in Aaron’s home town, the setting is simplistic, quiet and untouched, but as Aaron digs further, he finds more than first impressions allow.
Going back to his memories through flashbacks, The Dry shows Aaron’s younger days and the toxicity of adolescence and his regrets that things should have gone differently. However, Connelly’s retelling of Harper’s novel never sensationalises the content for thrills and spectacle, instead making the facts as plain as the landscape that surrounds the town.
The Dry feels like a film for adults and so it never embellishes on the events, it just tells it as it is. So, for those looking for an action packed, gun totting melodrama may want to look elsewhere. However, audiences who want a contemplative story of regret and loss that never treats them like attention deficient children, then The Dry may be a good antidote to cinematic mayhem.
Bana is also similarly stoic and contemplative, putting in a great performance and never heightening the drama above where it needs to be. The story may be somewhat formulaic and the ending tied up rather neatly, but it’s an enjoyable film for those bored with overblown visual effects and needless violence.
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