The film begins with something quite tragic and horrific. One evening, Scott Brennan (Thomas Jane) makes choices with disastrous consequences, leading to the death of his wife and his only daughter Jane (Harlow Jane), losing her hearing instantly. In the present day, Scott remains a widower and continues to raise Jane as best as possible. Since the tragedy, Jane has refused to speak to anyone and will only communicate via sign language.
Each day, Scott works in demolition and construction but fails to make ends meet. Focused on helping his daughter to hear once again, he discovers a new treatment that could help her but sadly is unable to afford it. Soon, an opportunity arises that could change everything for Scott. One day while working in the office, he is greeted by a stranger (Emile Hirsch) who needs someone with the right set of tools and skills to do some removal work in a home. Scott is instantly offered a large sum of cash, which would help to obtain treatment for Jane. Naturally, Scott accepts the cash job; however, as he begins to do the work, he makes a massive discovery within the house walls and is soon held hostage along with his daughter. Now Scott and Jane will be forced to dig up something secretive underneath the property, and if they fail to cooperate, they will be punished.
Dig is best described as a thriller with some minor moments of drama along the way. Scott isn’t an overly likeable character to begin with, coming across as arrogant and overconfident. After the opening scene, we learn that Scott is on a personal journey not only to deal with his past wrongs and hurts, but in his relationship with his daughter. It’s a nice concept to see, and the added tragedy of being held hostage only heightens the premise.
The performances in Dig are enjoyable. Actor Thomas Jane delivers various emotions and a character who differs as the film progresses, which was a nice touch to see. It’s evident that Emile Hirsch is having a blast playing an over-the-top role here, and while I’m not normally a fan of the actor, I can’t deny that him being quite loud and threatening is a treat to see.
Sadly, Dig is also extremely cliché and familiar. We know that Scott is forced to Dig against his will, but naturally, things get in the way of him completing this simple task. Some examples are when Scott and his daughter attempt various escapes, and several strangers get in the way, slowing things down and making the bad guys even more frustrated. Side characters always appear just at the right time by fluke and coincidence. Another cliché element is the bad guys making various threats but never dishing out any real consequences, and it becomes “all talk”. Most importantly, the ending is highly predictable and lacks surprises. For the most part, the soundtrack also failed to match up with any form of tension or drama on-screen.
Overall, Dig delivers a few fresh, solid moments of entertainment, mostly thanks to the film’s leads, including Thomas Jane and Emile Hirsch. The plot is touching and dramatic, which was a nice touch to see; however, Dig is filled with many cliché and familiar moments. While my investment level was solid, it was disappointing to find the ending lacked any real surprises, instead delivering something that feels safe, simple, and highly predictable.