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Tim and Lee are married with a young child. The chance to stay at a fancy home in the Hollywood Hills is complicated by Tim's discovery of a bone and a rusty old gun in the yard. Tim is excited by the idea of a mystery, but Lee doesn't want him to dig any further, preferring that he focus on the family taxes, which he promised to do weeks ago. This disagreement sends them on separate and unexpected adventures over the course of a weekend, as Tim and his friends seek clues to the mystery while Lee searches for answers to the bigger questions of marriage and parenthood.
Digging for Fire movie full length review - A good movie trapped in a mediocre movie.
'Digging for Fire' is a strange film. It's one of those movies that kicks its plot into gear within the first five minutes.
We see the young family get to the house that they will be tending and only a couple minutes later a discovery is made. Tim (Jake Johnson) uncovers a rusty pistol and bone. Quickly he jumps to the conclusion that someone was shot and killed somewhere on this property. Of course his wife, Lee, denies that something like that could've happened and forbids him to search any further. But when she takes their child away for the week he keeps investigating. But the strangest thing about this film is how it constantly evolves from here. It's almost as if the discover happened so early in the film to hide the fact that there really isn't anything going on until the halfway mark. I say this because the film ends up not being about the mystery at all. In fact, it's about relationships and having a mid life crisis. Once the film starts to focus on this aspect 'Digging for Fire' becomes MUCH more interesting.
The film has a lot of great things to say and, for the most part, the film is able to tell them very well. But the problem is having to wait forty five minutes for things to get interesting. Once things do, trying to find the alleged body becomes uninteresting. Granted, it wasn't interesting before, but as soon as the real plot kicks in it becomes more then just a side note.
This is the biggest issue I ran into with this film. It's uneven pacing. The film tries to build up to its fantastic ending but can't seem to get off and running. Just when it starts to, it will cut to a bland scene that kills the steam that the previous scene built up. This is incredibly disappointing because the conclusion to this film is really great. But since the film never had a grasp on pacing it feels almost underwhelming.
I will say this on behalf of the film. The cast is excellent. Even more surprising is how long the cast list is. Sam Rockwell, Brie Larson, and Anna Kendrick are just a couple of the other stars here. They may not be in it for very long but when they come on screen their presence is immediately felt. Especially Sam Rockwell, as the won't get on with his life guy. Every time he comes on screen you can just feel how scummy he is.
There isn't much more I can say about this film without getting into heavy spoilers so, I leave you with this. 'Digging for Fire' is a good movie. A good movie that is trapped inside a mediocre movie. There is so much great material here and it's a shame to see a lot of it going to waste. Nearly everything it does right is countered moments later with something it does wrong. It's uneven, underwhelming, and often bland. But it also has a lot to say and if you can get past the first forty five minutes you may just learn a thing or two.