Digging For Fire Is Full Of Character.
Digging for Fire.
Director: Joe Swanberg.
Writers: Joe Swanberg and Jake Johnson.
Starring: Jake Johnson, Rosemarie DeWitt, Brie Larson, Anna Kendrick, Orlando Bloom, Chris Messina, and Sam Rockwell.
Opens at: The Magnolia.
In any marriage, there comes a point where the honeymoon phase ends, you settle into your lives and the day-to-day routine becomes standard.
It can be monotonous. And little annoyances that you used to let slide start to grate on your last nerve.
In Digging for Fire, a couple (Jake Johnson and Rosemarie DeWitt) escapes to house-sit a fancy home of a friend with their young son in tow. They're looking forward to getting away and spending some time reconnecting with one another.
While there, Tim (Johnson) discovers a human bone and an old, antique gun in the yard. Curious by the find, he begins digging to unearth more of the mystery. This consumes him much to the irritation of his wife Lee (DeWitt). She wants him to drop it and finish their taxes, which he's been promising to do for weeks.
She's frustrated. He's frustrated. And this leads to them having two very separate, but equally eye-opening weekends.
In the film, director Joe Swanberg really trusts his actors to improvise their dialogue and go through the emotions that their characters are feeling. It's a style that may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's a great way for the actors to really make those character moments feel genuine.
There is hardly a plot to speak of, though. And that's OK, because the film's dense with characters. Johnson and DeWitt give heartfelt performances and have great chemistry on screen. Digging For Fire perfectly captures the struggle many adults have once they've settled into their lives with kids — the longing for the pre-relationship adventures and the freedom to just go out and have fun.
Other fun characters played by Sam Rockwell, Brie Larson, Anna Kendrick, Chris Messina and Orlando Bloom round out the cast and provide some interesting dynamics to the proceedings. Rockwell is especially memorable as Tim's friend, who never really got the idea of being in his early twenties out if his head, even though his friends have all grown up. He's the perpetual manchild, a guy forever trying to get you to down a six-pack in 30 minutes when you know well that your body can't handle that anymore.
Characters aside, there a lot of other interesting elements to this film. By the end, some of these meld together well, and others seem to be added as afterthoughts that never really congeal as anything. Some might find that annoying. But, really, Digging for Fire isn't about that. It's about these characters' growth, rather than the elements around them.
Though it's not the strongest of Swanberg's relationship-based films (Drinking Buddies is far superior), it's a solid film, one filled with nuanced and realistic performances.
But it could stand to dig a little deeper.