The Dig Review: A Gentle, Soothing and Exquisite Looking Film!

The Dig (2021) (Netflix)

An excavation, an exciting discovery, a real story that depicts faith, passion, diligence and many more subtle emotions.

Director – Simon Stone

Based on – The Dig by John Preston

Cast – Carey Mulligan, Ralph Fiennes, Lily James, Archie Barnes,Johnny Flynn, Ben Chaplin, Ken Scott, Monica Dolan


Edith Pretty is a wealthy landowner who wants her land at Sutton Hoo excavated and explored. She’s a lonely widow, an adoring mother, a very good human being and an archeology enthusiast. She hires Basil Brown, a self taught excavator-archaeologist. He’s not well to do, but a very well read and knowledgable man who is passionate about this field.

Their relentless efforts uncover something huge. Soon the authorities enter the scene, and they have an eye on the fame, credits and the treasure.


What’s most exquisite about the film is the subtlety with which the story is narrated. Everything about the film is gentle and soothing. The characters, dialogues, emotions, frames, everything sort of mildly settles upon you like a mist.

The period look and feel is great. The wonderful cinematography captures the expanses and the era so beautifully that I relished each frame with pleasure. 

The characters of Edith and Basil have been very well etched and well performed. Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes are both superb in their subtle and nuanced portrayals.

I especially loved Basil’s character.He’s a quiet, reserved ,perceptive man and astute in how he expresses himself.

Edith’s loneliness, sadness, love and resolve is well expressed by Carey. 

It’s a film of less words but what’s worth applaud is that each dialogue is worth attention, and some being so deep that I had to pause and absorb the philosophical angle at times.

For example, ”The past explains the present.” 

When Edith says “We die. We Decay.” His perspective is a simple explanation that “We are all a part of something continuous.”

I hung on to every dialogue by Basil. I found the conversations between him and little Robert very adorable. 

Note how the characters are unassuming in expressing their joy, sadness, triumph, disappointment etc. Consequently, thats how the film makes you feel, emotional in a quiet understated way.

This elegant film, I feel, expresses much more than just a story about a dig. A must watch for those who like quiet and immersive beautiful films.

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