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The Dry

Based on Australian author Jane Harper’s multi-award winning 2016 debut novel, ‘The Dry’ is a mystery thriller making good use of its locations. Similar to the ‘Mystery Road’ films and TV series, the vistas seen add much atmosphere. Whilst characterisation and story are always paramount, visuals can aid in delivering clues and creating the mind-set in which the characters find themselves. With solid performances and direction, ‘The Dry’ is an absorbing movie sure to intrigue.

Twenty years after leaving his drought-stricken outback hometown, Federal Agent Aaron Falk (Eric Bana) returns to attend an old friend’s funeral. Discovering his friend allegedly killed his wife and child before taking his own life, Falk decides to stay to investigate the crime. While doing so, he reopens an old case where a teenage girl was mysteriously killed. Suspecting these cases are linked, Falk faces the town’s rage and prejudices with the steely zeal that has made him the best in his field.

Under Robert Connelly’s focussed direction, ‘The Dry’ is an engaging thriller. Falk isn’t one of those perfect TV detectives seen so often but one battling his own demons. Haunted by past ghosts, this unsettling remembrance of old crimes affects the way he handles the current one. This adds conflict with those he meets, thereby making ‘The Dry’ more interesting. Friends and foes may not be necessarily who they seem with the dusty township threatening to explode with buried secrets.

Lovers of whodunits should enjoy ‘The Dry’ with genuinely surprising plot twists. Bana turns in an excellent performance, as always as his imperfect hero putting the pieces of the crime and his life back together. The other star is the dazzling cinematography. The harsh, barren outback is beautifully captured, making itself a character witnessing the danger everyone faces.

As Australian thrillers go, ‘The Dry’ is a worthy entry. Australia tends to do thrillers quite well, often utilising striking locales to good effect. The first part of a series of Aaron Falk books, ‘The Dry’ will hopefully usher in a local movie franchise audiences will enthusiastically embrace.

Rating out of 10: 8

CURRENLTY SCREENING IN CINEMAS.

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