“Digging For Fire” (2015) – Review by Clay Bloodworth

This photo provided by The Orchard shows Jake Johnson as Tim in a scene from the film, "Digging for Fire." The movie releases in U.S. theaters on Friday, Aug. 21, 2015. (Ben Richardson/The Orchard via AP)

‘Digging for Fire’ charming and clever 

Joe Swanberg is changing the face of American independent cinema. In a matter of ten years, he’s managed to direct eighteen feature films (including his latest “Digging For Fire”). Most of these have been made completely outside of the studio-system, being financed through credit cards and actors donating their time. They’re purely improvisational, with Swanberg’s only tool being an outline that he’s authored. The actors, in turn, must completely inhabit their characters to the point of knowing what they might say or even do. “Digging For Fire”, which is undoubtedly his most star-studded film to date, takes this to a whole new level. Veterans such as Sam Elliott and Judith Light are sharing the screen with younger actors like Jake Johnson and Rosemarie DeWitt.

The latter couple playing a husband and wife who, after finding a rusted gun and apparent human bone in the backyard of a house they’re staying in, are lead on separate adventures over the course of one weekend. The husband – obviously more curious about what else he might find – invites a group of his long-time friends to drink a few beers and dig up the truth. Meanwhile, his wife takes their son to visit her parents and get away from some of the marital stresses she’s facing.

It’s this wonderfully odd comedy/mystery that’s entirely propelled by the connection between the actors and the director. There’s an evident trust between the two, and the movie is infinitely better for that. Not to mention the fact that it’s just a lot of fun to watch. The varied cast works together beautifully (some of the others include Orlando Bloom, Anna Kendrick, and Sam Rockwell) and the story unfolds in a charming and clever fashion. Definitely give Swanberg’s latest film a look. He has a long and storied career ahead of him. “Digging For Fire” is now playing in select theaters and available On Demand.

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