Run time: 112 mins
Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes unearth ghosts of a nation in Simon Stone’s ravishing period piece.
A Netflix Studios adaptation of John Preston’s novel of the same name, The Dig tells the story of the most famous archaeological dig in Britain of modern times: the discovery of an Anglo-Saxon burial ship at Sutton Hoo, now globally recognised as “Britain’s Tutankhamun”.
In 1939, Edith Pretty (played here by Mulligan) hires amateur archaeologist Basil Brown (Fiennes) to excavate the burial mounds on her estate. When they make the historic discovery and uncover a cache of historical treasures at its centre, the echoes of Britain’s past resonate in the face of its uncertain future as World War II looms on the horizon.
Filmed near to the original discovery site, The Dig provides a sweeping spectacle of the Suffolk countryside, its inhabitants blissfully unprepared for the impending outbreak of war. Joining the typically on form Mulligan and Fiennes is a stellar cast including the likes of Lily James (last seen in Netflix’s remake of Rebecca), Johnny Flynn and Ben Chaplin. Together they find common awareness of the past as something that can never truly be left behind. (Chris Coetsee)