Review: Eric Bana murder secret ‘The Dry’ doesn’t fire up

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The Los Angeles Times is devoted to reviewing new theatrical film releases during the COVID-19 pandemic . Mainly because moviegoing carries inherent dangers during this time, we remind visitors to follow health and safety guidelines as outlined with the CDC plus local health officials. We are going to continue to note the various methods readers can see each new film, including drive-in movies building in the Southland and VOD/streaming options when available.

The low-key, rural Australian murder mystery “The Dry” is significant for its setting and shows. But it moves too slowly, doesn’t plant enough pressure and resolves too abruptly to germinate. Where a few emotional power would provide, it’s too … dried out.

Eric Bana performs Aaron Falk, a federal agent returning to his tiny, drought-stricken hometown after a 20-year lack. He’s back for the funeral of Luke, a childhood friend accused of murdering his own family before killing himself. Though some respect Aaron as a hero intended for his accomplishments in the huge city, others say he might have been involved in the long-ago demise of Ellie, one of Lomaz and Aaron’s friends. Pushed by Luke’s parents to check into Luke’s alleged murders, Aaron must also confront the truth of Ellie’s death.

The two sets of stars playing the friends because kids and the survivors since adults acquit themselves well. Newcomer BeBe Bettencourt is really a convincing troubled teen because Ellie (and has a lovely singing voice ) and Joe Klocek is soulful and off-balance as young Aaron. The particular always-welcome Bana is perhaps as well restrained as grown-up good guy Aaron who might be constrained by guilt (viewers will have to see), but we believe him as an efficient investigator. Keir O’Donnell (“Wedding Crashers”) makes you root intended for him as the local police officer finding his way, David Polson is memorable because the boss of Luke’s murdered wife and Genevieve O’Reilly feels familiar and true as Gretchen, the other survivor from Aaron’s group of close friends.

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But while some atmosphere is built-in due to the remote, arid location and confining small-town blues, there’s the lived-in-ness that’s lacking. Taking into consideration the film’s leisurely pace, one might expect more local presence and more of an experiential feeling than we get. For instance, the filmmakers don’t do much to distinguish both timelines, despite one becoming pre-drought. The story (based upon Jane Harper’s novel) plays like a chamber mystery; you assume each person you fulfill is a suspect and you attempt to work it out along with the sleuths.

Unfortunately, there are few impresses, and none that shock. There’s no stress within the viewer. One doesn’t exactly fear for characters’ lives or doubt that each cases will be solved. For example , the dénouement, while introducing a horrific situation, does not fill the viewer with dread. It also doesn’t get deeply enough into the individuals to hook as a character study.

Bana is usually, as always, a very watchable display presence; the film is just not bad. But there’s a spark missing that could make the story burn, and the film’s abrupt ending will leave viewers high and “Dry. ”

‘The Dry’

Rated: R for violence, and vocabulary throughout

Running time: 1 hour, 58 minutes

Playing: Starts May 21 in general release where theaters are open; also on VOD