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Robert Connolly
Eric Bana, Genevieve O'Reilly, Keir O'Donnell
Writing Credits:
Robert Connolly, Harry Cripps

Aaron Falk returns to his drought-stricken hometown to attend a tragic funeral, but his return opens a decades-old wound: the unsolved death of a teenage girl.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 117 min.
Price: $28.96
Release Date: 1/18/2022

• “Homecoming” Featurette
• “Page to Screen” Featurette
• “Jane Harper’s Day On Set” Featurette
• “Two Timelines” Featurette
• “Falk and Gretchen” Featurette
• “Filming in the Wimmera Region” Featurette
• Previews


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The Dry [Blu-Ray] (2020)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 19, 2021)

Don’t expect the title of The Dry to give us much information. That moniker tells a potential viewer nearly nothing about what to expect – a story about a desert? An alcoholic on the wagon? Who knows?

As it happens, The Dry gives us a mix of drama and thriller. When Luke Hadler (Martin Dingle-Wall) apparently kills his wife, child and himself, federal agent Aaron Falk (Eric Bana) returns to his hometown for the first time in decades. Luke and Aaron were friends as kids so Aaron feels a duty to attend his deceased pal’s funeral.

While back home, Aaron finds himself confronted with the town’s open wound: the unsolved murder of 17-year-old Ellie Deacon (Bebe Bettencourt). Though reluctant, Aaron agrees to investigate this event, and various simmering tensions emerge as he does so.

Since I brought it up at the start, I’ll convey that ”The Dry” overtly refers to a long drought that brings ruin to Kiewarra, a fictional town the story locates in the Victoria region of Australia. Of course, the film used the title for subtext as well, but the absence of rain acts as the main inspiration.

“Dry” could also stand for the movie’s low-key tone and gradual pace. While technically a thriller, the film doesn’t indulge in melodrama much of the time.

For the most part, I appreciate that attitude, as it avoids the standard theatrics. Too many movies of this sort go overboard in terms of emotion and overt attempts to create a strong reaction from the audience.

By contrast, Dry seems more confident that it can draw in the viewer with its “slow burn” exploration of events. While Aaron digs into what happened to Ellie in his youth – a crime for which many believe he played a part – he also looks into what happened with Luke in the present.

Dry manages to balance these two sides. It tends to favor the Ellie aspects, mainly because they offer the opportunity to flash back to teen Aaron (Joe Klocek) to see what happened in that era.

Though the film offers a plot with a gradual boil, it manages to maintain the viewer’s interest. Actually, it can feel a little too slow in the first act, but once the plot starts to kick in, the tale works well.

Again, the low-key nature of the project helps, and the actors remain appropriately subdued. Bana turns in a quality lead performance, and the rest of the cast fills their roles nicely as well.

While not a movie packed with thrills and excitement, The Dry nonetheless becomes an evocative tale of how crimes impact communities. The film delivers a fairly engrossing experience.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus C-

The Dry appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Across the board, this was an appealing transfer.

Sharpness looked strong most of the time. Some wider elements seemed a little tentative, but the image usually gave us a tight, well-defined image.

Jagged edges and moiré effects remained absent, while edge haloes also failed to appear. Print flaws stayed absent as well.

Because much of the film took place in an arid Australian setting, Dry opted for an amber/orange tone as well as some teal. These tones seemed predictable, but they worked fine within the movie’s design parameters and showed good delineation.

Blacks were dark and tight, while shadows showed nice clarity and smoothness. I thought this was a consistently strong image.

I also felt pleased with the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. Though it concentrated mainly on environmental information, the mix used the channels in a reasonably involving manner throughout much of the film.

Not that anything here dazzled, as most of the soundfield stayed with ambience and moody music. Still, the track opened up the settings well enough.

Audio quality always satisfied. Music was dynamic and full, and effects followed suit, so those components came across as accurate and well-developed.

Speech seemed distinctive and crisp, without edginess or other issues. This became an appropriate soundtrack for the story.

Six featurettes appear on the Blu-ray, and Homecoming runs three minutes, 36 seconds. It provides notes from co-writer/director Robert Connolly, author Jane Harper, producer Jodi Matterson, and actors Eric Bana and Bebe Bettancourt.

“Homecoming” looks at story/characters as well as locations and themes. A few decent notes emerge but the show lacks much substance.

Page to Screen lasts four minutes, 27 seconds and involves Connolly, Bana, Harper, Matterson, and producer Bruna Papandrea.

“Screen” covers the movie’s adaptation as well as story/characters and Connolly’s cinematic approach to the material. It offers another superficial reel despite a handful of insights.

Next comes Jane Harper’s Day on Set, a two-minute, 32-second reel with Harper. She played an extra in the movie, so we visit her time on the shoot. Not much of interest occurs here.

Two Timelines spans three minutes, 34 seconds and gives us info from Matterson, Connolly, Bana, and actors Joe Klocek and Claude Scott-Mitchell.

“Timelines” discusses the ways the filmmakers differentiated the “present day” and “flashback” sequences. Though brief, some good notes emerge.

After this we locate Falk and Gretchen, a one-minute, 55-second clip that brings comments from Bana and actor Genevieve O’Reilly. We get a short and not especially compelling look at the Aaron and Gretchen roles.

Finally, Filming in the Wimmera Region lasts three minutes, eight seconds and delivers statements from Bana, Connolly, O’Reilly, location manager Nicci Dillon, and actor Keir O’Donnell.

As expected, we learn a little about the film’s locations. It becomes another spotty and not especially informative reel.

The disc opens with ads for Made in Italy, Monday, True History of the Kelly Gang and Babyteeth. No trailer for Dry appears here.

As a thriller, The Dry lacks the usual melodramatic shenanigans. That allows it to become a fairly involving tale that grows on the viewer. The Blu-ray brings good picture and audio but bonus materials feel superficial. The Dry turns into a largely effective tale.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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