Simon Stone


Johnny Flynn, Ralph Fiennes, Bronwyn James, Carey Mulligan, Archie Barnes, James Dryden, Joe Hurst, Paul Ready, Christopher Godwin, Ellie Piercy, Robert Wilfort, Monica Dolan, Amelia Stephenson, Lily James, Ken Stott, Ben Chaplin, Danny Webb, Eamon Farren, Johnny Flynn, John Macmillan, Stephen Worrall, Jack Bennett


As Europe fled to war in May1939, Basil Brown, an amateur scuba-archaeologist, hiring to excavate the giant mounds at the Suffolk estate of Edith Pretty, hit gold (literally). First, an 88-footer ship from the English-Saxon era stumbled upon the skeleton. This was the first stage of what the British Museum curator Sue Brunning termed “one of the most significant archaeological finds of all time, definitely in English archaeology, but in the globe, I’d say.” The next step was to find the burial hall on the ship full of an almost wholly preserved treasure hoard composed of gold and Grenet: an impressive helmet, shoulder clasps, a gold belt buckle. Pretty gave the items to the British Museum, known as the ‘Sutton Hoo discovery’ to this day. The new movie “The Dig”, directed by Simon Stone by Netflix, is the topic of this intriguing tale, which Moira Buffini adapts for the script of John Preston’s book.


Mulligan and Fiennes are the first half of the picture, and an intriguing momentum is at work. They come from two very different classes and worlds. But in crucial ways, they interact. They share a love for information and for discovering the connections across centuries and nations. The tomb of Tutankhamun was dug up in 1922 by British Egyptologist Harold Carter, whose name at one time Edith named Edith. In 1922, Edith was supposed to be a teenager. You might imagine that the change in the world – and the first time you saw such items – would fill you with amazement and astonishment. She has got a sense in her yard for those mounds. There is something she has a feeling. When Basil finds the ship, he claims that it is an Anglo-Saxon of the sixth and seventh centuries, and the “experts” laugh at first.

The plot grows as people go down to the earth to go on digging and to borrow. Ken Stott portrays the renowned archaeologist, Charles Phillips who says that this site is much too significant to be in Basil’s hands, an amateur with no official training. Stuart Piggot (Ben Chaplin) and his budding archaeologist Peggy become part of the new excavation crew (Lily James). Cousin of Edith, Rory (Johnny Flynn), pictures the dig, charming as usual. During this part, “The Dig” loses a little pace as Peggy’s unhappiness with her marriage takes her to the sides. In his husband Eamon Farren, Stuart appears just a little too much, and Rory is so lovely and kind and makes her feel stuck in ways she never felt in her marriage. These complex emotional questions come to the picture for almost an hour, much too late to really hold on. In this part, Basil mainly goes away, and the film misses him very much.

But gradually, this more significant ensemble has become the whole mix. The dig itself is essential. The attention to detail is critical: it demonstrates how to dig, the risks of exploring, how to identify the artefacts and then to take them from the soil – the way this is presented allows the viewer to grasp what is going on and how it is. You trust the knowledge of Fiennes. Peggy’s also you believe in. A second aspect is a war approach. RAF aircraft rumble over the area more and more often. Everyone understands that the digging must stop once the war has been declared. All of them have a feeling of urgency on fire.

Via the discovery sequences, emotion and victory occur, but the overall tone is understood, calm and reflective. Philips delivers an exciting speech, and it is a key thematic component of what “Sutton Hoo finds” implies. Common knowledge believed that the Anglo-Saxons were aggressive wild scouts, but the beautiful items they had found proved “there was art. The Sutton Hoo discovery was a change of awareness in common ancestry and heritage and a feeling of belonging to the communal past. All these elements are there in “The Dig,” yet no emphasis or punching is placed on the meaning.

Instead of that, you have Edith and Basil locking their eyes across the pit into the earth, silent, two outsiders wrong, understanding they were right.

This movie “THE DIG” is a pleasant movie. The place provides its own charm, a great cast and characters. Worth a watch. Worth a watch.