Note: This film was reviewed from a digital screener. Screen and Stage encourages its readers to follow safety precautions outlined by health authorities.
THE DRY (Dir. Robert Connolly, 2021, In theaters and on VOD now) - Rich in atmosphere and smartly focused on character and drama as opposed to the cheap thrills and twists typically found in films of this kind, THE DRY has the distinctly pleasurable quality of sitting down to read a particularly engaging novel (this might be due to the fact that the film is based on a novel of the same name). Centered around a federal agent (Eric Bana) who returns to his rural Australian hometown for the funeral of a childhood friend who was said to have killed himself and his family, THE DRY benefits greatly from director/co-writer Robert Connolly's confident direction as well as a screenplay that consistently keeps the audience guessing and expertly interweaves its dramatic and thriller elements. It's also a pleasure to watch the underrated Eric Bana return to his native country and give a performance of this kind of depth. An impressive murder mystery, a hard-hitting drama, and a brilliantly-observed work about the suffocating nature of small-town Australia, THE DRY is, simply put, one of the best films of the year thus far. 4/4