The Dry

Australian federal investigator Aaron Falk (Eric Bana) returns to his dusty outback hometown for the tragic funeral of a high-school friend who apparently shot his wife and young son before killing himself. He hasn’t been back for 20 years, since he and his father were hounded out of town because of the drowning death of a girl Aaron had been involved with. 

Falk extends his initial one-day stay when he and the local sheriff (Keir O’Donnell) sense a whiff of inconsistency in the crime’s forensics. The animosity of some of the townspeople toward him remains, and the girl’s unsolved death emerges as a new question mark. 

Robert Connolly’s (Paper Planes, The Slap) film, based on the best-selling novel by Jane Harper, is a polished, deliberate crime thriller that keeps the intrigue flowing through red herrings and clever plot twists. He builds up his characters slowly, bit-by-bit. Bana anchors the film with a nuanced, solid performance, aided immeasurably by a memorable cast of Aussie character actors. 

You will never know where this one is going next, and it will stay with you. And that’s the most you can ask of a murder mystery. (117 min)