Saban Films are spewing out a huge amount of titles from all over the world and featuring the stars of yesteryear. Seeing their logo on a trailer almost invokes an automatic stop/skip reaction. However, Dig is a bit different.
Tom Jane is a terrific actor and we have all loved him in something, at some stage. Be it Deep Blue Sea, The Punisher, The Mist, Dreamcatcher, Stander or Hung. However, it’s impossible to ignore how he leapt from cheapo to cheapo in the last number of years, frequently appearing as second fiddle or two-scenes-and-done in Bruce Willis led turds. Yet he can bounce back easily and does frequently.
Dig sees Tom working with his daughter Harlow Jane, playing an onscreen father and daughter combo. I honestly wasn’t aware that they were father and daughter in real life until after the film was over.
Dig is a pretty simple tale, however, it has a number of smaller dimensions that propel it above the junk that it can resemble. Jane, initially, is a protective family man with a hot temper. An altercation whilst filling the car at a petrol station sees his wife accidentally shot dead and his daughter’s hearing damaged. A year later Jane is making ends meet as a salvage trader, looking after his daughter and missing his wife. An offer comes in from Emile Hurst for Jane to perform salvage duties on a remote property that would provide enough money for a life changing operation to restore his daughter’s hearing.
What transpires is a devious plan by Hurst and his bonkers girlfriend to have the Jane’s dig up something they hid years ago, under the patio of the remote property. The Jane’s have to work out how to save what remains of their family by playing along or attempting to escape and seeking justice.
Dig takes its time with the tension. It steadily increases as the film continues and there are enough ideas to keep things intriguing. This doesn’t deliver much action, aside from the odd chase and a climatic pay off.
Tom Jane provides a worthwhile lead allowing the colourful characters surrounding him their spotlight. Harlow is moody yet resourceful and does a decent job keeping her character from moaning too much and becoming irritating. She and Dad establish a complicated but realistic chemistry. I was not in the mood to have too much family politics between the two, and thankfully, for what there is, it is quite light.
Emile Hurst and Liana Liberato (what a great name) have a ball as the crazy couple demanding the Jane’s exhume their secret. Liberto is appropriately crazed, greedy and somewhat scatty. Both are enjoying their roles, however, I can’t help but think that these types of characters can’t really exist or function in the real world and only surface in movies. In order to prove how dastardly the couple are, the film adds a potentially interesting immigrant character who serves only to illustrate the villain’s ruthlessness.
The film suffers from a limited budget and it really shows during some of the more intense moments, particularly the climax. The logistics and stunt work don’t gel together terribly well and it must have sounded better on paper. Additionally, the film is shot on Digital video, losing the film grain effect and it does distract from the film in areas, mainly night shots.
The story delivers a fairly interesting tale but it’s slow and plodding. There are enough events to keep the audience from switching off, however, there isn’t very much to keep them riveted. The promise of unearthing a secret will work for most but it will test the patience of the majority to find out what it is.
For a cheap flick, with only four characters the film is worth digging up if you are in the mood for a slow burner. Technical merits are what let this down for the larger audience. There are ideas, intrigue, decent performances and the hint of excitement but hardly come in spades.
Dig has one poster and this is used for all artwork from streaming to DVD and Blu-ray. It’s okay, featuring its two bankable stars but missing the two lovelier, leading ladies.
The film is available to stream from Amazon, Google, Sky and Apple TV.