Ralph Fiennes is one of the great actors around. He’s known for consistently taking deeper and more dramatic roles than most others in the industry, lending a certain weight and brooding to his performances that shape the movie around his understated but heavy style. It’s made him one of the most respected talents in the industry and why he’s carved out such a solid career. He essentially started his movie career with an Academy Award-winning film about World War II, but he played a dark character. Now, he’s returning to the time period in a film with many different tones. You can go and check out The Dig which is now streaming on Netflix.
The Dig is based on the 2007 novel of the same name. It’s a fictionalized story about a real-life archeological dig. In 1938, archeologist Basil Brown began an excavation in the area of Sutton Hoo, England which was the site of some mysterious mounds of dirt. The dig was commissioned by the owner of the land, Edith Pretty. What they found there was truly remarkable, a cache of Viking artifacts that dated back more than a thousand years. Included among them was a fully intact Viking ship, possibly the spot of a funeral and ritual burial. Ralph Fiennes plays Brown, the man charged with digging up the remains and finding out what lies below the Earth. Check out the trailer for The Dig:
As I said, this version of the Sutton Hoo archeological dig is fictionalized but draws heavily from events of the time. The characters are the real-life folks and the story centers on the things actually found on the property. Joining Ralph Fiennes in the cast is Carey Mulligan who plays Edith Pretty, the owner of the property who develops an emotional relationship with Brown. Also included is Lily James as Peggy Piggot, another archeologist who’s part of Brown’s team.
The Dig takes place at the forefront of World War II when England is first entering the fray. The movie juxtaposes the discovery of this ancient treasure trove of artifacts and the idea of delving into history with the upcoming fear and uncertainty around impending war. Ralph Fiennes is aged to be an older man in the film who is not at risk of joining the fight. But that doesn’t mean the emotion isn’t there. This was a country that stood in the crosshairs of German invasion and the film uses the greater historical events to drive much of the plot.
Critics came out overwhelmingly positive for The Dig praising nearly all aspects of the production. They nearly universally praised the acting of both Ralph Fiennes and Carey Mulligan in the lead roles and both could be in contention come awards season. Fiennes is credited with a certain stoicism in his part, bringing drama and emotion to the unearthing of dirt. There’s more to it than that obviously, but the title is blunt in the movie’s plot yet the actor makes it about much more than moving earth around. It’s a fitting removal from one of his first major roles when he was in another World War II film, as the Nazi Amon Goeth in Schindler’s List.
Ralph Fiennes has a number of different movies in the works right now which will have a decidedly different feel than The Dig. He’s already completed The King’s Man which will act as a prequel for the Kingsman movies. This movie is in the can but has faced numerous delays since it finished filming almost two years ago. As of right now, it’s finally scheduled to hit theaters on March 12 of this year.
Also up for Ralph Fiennes is the final Daniel Craig-as-James Bond movie No Time to Die. Like The King’s Man, this film was also affected by the pandemic and has been delayed until at least October, 2021. Fiennes wil reprise his role as M in what will amount to the end of a Bond-era for this group.
In all, Ralph Fiennes continues to bring it as one of the most esteemed actors around, consistently taking roles in great films and bringing a certain gravity to the big screen. That’s very much the case with The Dig, a movie that is worth checking out now on the streaming service.