Film Review: The Dry Dir: Robert Connolly

Starring: Eric Bana, Genevieve O’Reilly, Keir O’Donnell

Perhaps not the feel-good film folks may be looking for to start the new year with…The Dry brings us a world of dust, death, deceit and disillusion.

Based on the bestselling 2016 novel by Jane Harper, director Robert Connolly and producer/actor Eric Bana go deep into a sun-scorched rural area of Victoria to uncover secrets that have been festering in the (fictional) small town of Kiewarra for decades.

Erica Bana plays Federal Agent Aaron Falk, on leave from his duties, in order to attend a funeral in his hometown…his first time back in 20 years.

The man in the casket is Falk’s childhood friend Luke, who, after allegedly killing his wife and son, has snuffed himself out as well.

But Aaron’s got a hunch…or a least a feeling…that all may not be as cut and dried as the locals believe, so together with town cop Sergeant Greg Raco (Keir O’Donnell) he agrees to hang around and do some snooping.

This doesn’t go down so well with some of the locals who remember the death of a teen-age girl 25 years earlier and who believe that Aaron and/or Luke may have been responsible. To add tinder to this potential fire, ex-girlfriend Gretchen (Genevieve O’Reilly) is still there and feelings are still smouldering between them.

Director Connolly (Paper Planes, The Turning) takes his time allowing the audience to get used to the heat coming from the land and the characters. He deftly manoeuvres the action back and forth from the present to the past without confusing the audience.

Before we get to the satisfying ending there are plenty of red herrings and possible suspects along with rekindled romances and a few shotguns ready to fire.

Bana’s performance is reserved and intense and O’Reilly does a fine job of inhabiting a complex, intriguing character.

After the trauma that was 2020, it looks like we’re in for a long hot summer. The Dry won’t cool you off but it will set you thinking.

Marty Duda

The Dry is in cinemas from New Year’s Day