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Movie Review: The Dry (2020) *Spoiler Free*

Movie One Sheet: The Dry
Based on the best selling novel by Jane Harper, The Dry is a murder mystery set in a small, drought affected, Australian outback town.

Eric Bana plays Federal Agent, Aaron Falk, who returns to his hometown to attend his childhood friend Luke's funeral, who died in what appears to have been a murder suicide of his family. 

Unfortunately Aaron's presence opens up some old wounds for some locals surrounding his departure from the town as a teenager some twenty years prior.

Luke's parents, not convinced that the investigation into their son and his family's death has reached the right conclusion, ask Aaron to look over the case.

Given the plot of this film, and its very confronting opening scene (if you're not really used to watching murder mysteries) it's hard to describe this film as 'enjoyable', even though it is, in the sense that it kept me engaged the whole time.

The story is split between present day and twenty years earlier, just prior to Aaron's sudden departure from the town. It took me a little bit of adjustment to link  the younger cast members to their present day selves but once I did things were easy enough to follow through the switching back and forth.

A particular standout of the young cast was Sam Corlett playing younger Luke. His performance definitely keeps the doubt in your mind that maybe he could be behind all the deaths.

It was great to see Eric Bana playing just your average Aussie bloke. I felt he carries the film well with a fine performance that is backed up by Keir O'Donnell, playing a some-what rookie, local uniform cop, Officer Greg Raco.

Keir's performance of Greg is totally convincing as someone who is both impressed by Aaron's experience but not so awestruck that he can't stand up and take charge if he needs to.

The mystery itself has plenty of twists and possible suspects to keep you guessing. I picked the antagonist relatively early, based on nothing but my knowledge of 'who dunnit' story structures and not actual clues, but I was never completely certain of my choice as a result. I definitely felt I may have picked incorrectly until the story confirmed for sure that I hadn't.

Overall, this is solid film with great performances all round. I was particularly happy to see Aussie acting legend Bruce Spence in a more realistic role for a change (most times I've only seen him play more over the top character roles).

There is a second Aaron Falk book, Force of Nature, by Jane Harper, and I would not be disappointed to see Eric reprise his role if there are plans for another film in the series.


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