Title: Digging for Fire
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Joe Swanberg
Starring: Jake Johnson, Rosemarie DeWitt, Brie Larson
Runtime: 1 hr 25 mins
What It Is: When “happily” married couple Tim (Johnson) and Lee (DeWitt) house sit for one of Lee’s more well off clients. When sulking about in the backyard Tim unearths a bone and a gun. Curious as to what these could mean he wants to dig further and find out, but Lee does not think it’s a good idea. When she leaves to drop their three year old son off at the grandparents Tim does it anyway, but also invites over his buddies over, among them is Max (Larson) a girl he doesn’t know . Meanwhile Lee is going through an existential crisis and finds comfort in stranger Ben (Orlando Bloom) for the night. Both of these people will go through a test of their marriage, as well as a personal vision quest of sorts. What will become of them when this night is over is the bigger question.
What We Think: This is an interesting character study that does a fantastic job of setting up a scenario for the characters and having them live there, both figuratively and literally. This talented cast seems to explore it’s existential themes rather well and engages the audience. Your interested in the characters, and you care about their plight. At times the story seems a little too quirky (a normal thing in Swanberg films) but Swanberg does a good enough job reining it all in. As a whole the cast acts wonderfully. It’s all believable fun, and it is especially nice to see Orlando Bloom isn’t dead. As well as awesome that he can make a film without Elf ears on. I found Mike Birbiglia’s character of Phil to be rather off-putting as he seemed more like nosy neighbor and less like work bro.
Our Grade: B+, Swanberg brings his norm quirk to a very interesting group of characters. I can’t relate enough to them to really warrant a higher grade, but it is nonetheless a good flick. I’d recommend this for sure particularly since you can watch it right now at a theater near you or on VOD. With all that said here’s a link to Swanberg’s film from last year Happy Christmas this film is similar to it in many ways including the score. This seems to be his style, and it is likewise working.