The Dry wastes no time in drawing audiences into to its complicated story. Federal Agent Aaron Falk (Eric Bana) returns to his hometown after leaving twenty years prior. He is there to attend the funeral of a friend who was apparently the trigger person in a murder-suicide. He soon finds another mysterious death from years before may be connected.
The film works on two fronts; the modern day killings involve twisting investigations that has Falk investigating the entire town. The situation is filled with lies and many secrets are uncovered. No one can be trusted (not even Falk himself). In these moments, The Dry is very much a police procedural.
The drowning of a seventeen year old girl from years before carries more sentimentality to it. The Dry uses flashbacks to develop the characters and relationships during these scenes. This gives the otherwise standard movie a very idyllic feel.
The Dry does an excellent job of building a sense of place. The town of Kiewarra has not seen rain in almost a year. The Australian movie does not linger on shots of the outback or its inhabitants. Instead, the camera gets across the heat being experienced. Colors are muted while streets seemed to have cracked due to the lack of water.
Bana is magnificent as the agent who is not trusted by an entire town. Falk is a nuanced character that rarely goes beyond the conventions – there are all the telltale signs of grief and guilt to be found. That being said, Bana manages to keep the character engaging.
The supporting cast is excellent. This is especially important since one detective alone cannot carry this type of story. While there is the issue of the characters being a little too familiar, The Dry manages to write these limitations into a compelling story.
It sometimes seems like there is nothing new that can be brought to the police procedural. The Dry is further proof of how similar films of the genre are. It is also an example of what can be done to make the film a worthwhile watch.
The Dry come to select theaters will be available to rent May 21
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