Review by John P. Harvey
Perfectly blending everyday realism and dramatic tension, The Dry has policeman Aaron Falk (Eric Bana) reopening old wounds when he returns to his home town for the funeral of his childhood best friend, Luke, and Luke’s wife and child, all of whom died violently. Luke has been declared the culprit; but his parents, certain that he couldn’t have murdered his loved ones, beg Falk to look afresh, and the local police sergeant provides the official help he needs for his unofficial detective role. But Falk will have to break down some secrets and face another death, for which many blame him: that of his girlfriend, Ellie, 20 years earlier.
The film’s geographic landscape is as colourful as its emotional one. The setting and scenario might suggest tedium or at least a slow pace; but The Dry’s screenplay, both unpredictable and rich in emotion, emerges brilliantly in the hands of director Robert Connolly (Paper Planes). Convincing performances all round steadily raise the tension, applying pressure to Falk to abandon his investigation as a lost cause even as the passion that he and his former girlfriend, Gretchen (Genevieve O’Reilly), shared as teenagers ignites between them afresh.
The Dry will have you feeling you’ve met the lead characters and understand many of them; and it will surely leave you thinking about how wrong our preconceived ideas can be.
Screening at Palace cinemas.