Review: ‘The Dry’ is a well-executed mystery with a strong central performance from Eric Bana

Small towns have a certain appeal. The pace is slower, and the community can be close-knit. When things are good, small-town living is the sweet life, but life can turn sour when things aren’t so good and never recover. Kiewarra is this type of town, one that was shattered by the murder of a young woman, Ellie Deacon, some twenty years ago and never quite recovered, and now that three people are dead, things might only get worse.

Federal Police Officer Aaron Falk (Eric Bana) is returning home to bury his childhood best friend, Luke. Luke, a good friend and a family man, has seemingly killed his wife and child before heading out to a dry lake to take his own life. However, something in the case doesn’t add up, and Falk stays to investigate at the behest of Luke’s parents (Bruce Spence and Julia Blake). This wouldn’t be an easy case at the best of times, but Luke hasn’t been home in twenty years because Ellie (BeBe Bettencourt) was his girlfriend, and after he couldn’t provide a satisfactory alibi, he was run out of town.

Eric Bana, Kefir O’Donnell, and Matt Nable / The Dry.

Every once in a while, you hear someone complain that they don’t make movies for adults anymore. Team, I am here to tell you that they do exist, and The Dry is one of them. It’s a sharply written mystery that will keep you guessing whodunnit, in both cases, right to the end. Even if you guess right, Eric Bana is so good as the tortured and melancholy Falk that it doesn’t matter; you’ll want to see it through to the end.

His supporting cast is good, too, with Keir O’Donnell standing out to me as the naive local police officer who only wants to do right by the town but is maybe too nice to actually follow through on that promise. Matt Nable, John Polson, and Genevieve O’Reilly all put in good work as well. O’Reilly is another standout in the cast, being potentially involved in crimes past and present, with secrets of her own to protect.

Eric Bana and Genevieve O’Reilly / The Dry

Another area that the film shines is with its cinematography and direction. Whether it’s the unsolved murders or the year-long drought, the feeling of a small town under pressure is in every frame of this film.

The Dry doesn’t break the mould of mystery thrillers, but it does fit nicely into one. Gorgeous cinematography, a well-executed mystery, and a great central performance from Eric Bana make this one easy to recommend.

The Dry is available on demand now.


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