I am so psyched to write the first user review of this great film -- soon to be widely recognized as such, I imagine. See New Yorker, NY Times, Variety etc. reviews -- they're ahead of me. "Digging for Fire" looks wonderful -- magical, even. Joe Swanberg, as natural a filmmaker as Samuel Fuller the all-time greatest of the naturals , here has for the first time? chosen to shoot on 35mm Eastman color film in Cinemascope ratio. And the results are stunning -- particularly the beautiful night shooting.As the narrative subject matter of the film involves a a couple in a <more>
conflicted moment and b the chance discovery of buried human remains, I was reminded of Rossellini's "Viaggio in Italia" -- and, surprisingly, Richard Brody in The New Yorker references Rossellini in his enthusiastic review. The Rossellini film -- though difficult and annoying -- is also mysteriously compelling. While Swanberg's film is far more viewer-congenial oh alright -- "audience friendly" , a similar spiritual transformation of the characters takes place in both films. But, paradoxically, more satisfyingly in Swanberg's less explicitly and far less portentously "spiritual" film.The acting -- from the wonderful Jake Johnson to Chris Messina in his tiny role to Judith Light and Sam Elliott as Johnson's in-laws and little Jake Swanberg as an adorable 3-year old type-casting at its best -- is superb -- an ensemble equal to the great assemblages Robert Altman used to gather year after year. It seems Swanberg may have quite a nice future, for which let us be grateful. Side note: Interesting "Digging for Fire" is released the same weekend as Peter Bogdanovich's first film in 13 years, "She's Funny That Way" -- each opening in New York on one screen only -- try that one, too -- it's much better than the reviews would have you believe.
I love this indie movie so much! (by UniqueParticle)
The soundtrack is my favorite thing especially the ambient theme and such a great cast! Jake Johnson, Sam Rockwell, Sam Elliot, Chris Messina, Anna Kendrick and Brie Larson are all wonderful. I originally saw this a few years ago, and felt compelled to buy the main song. The drama is done really well, and it's not boring like several people complained that it is. I actually think it's interesting and it's more of a subtle adult movie. I also really enjoy everything Joe Swanberg has done or been involved with.
A brisk delight. (by Sergeant_Tibbs)
I hadn't seen any other Joe Swanberg as pre-requisites but if I knew the delights Digging For Fire had in store for me I would have certainly done my research. However, that would have been some undertaking. He's one of the decade's most productive filmmakers, directing as well as pulling his weight in all the other roles a dozen films this decade, half of which in 2011 alone. While he barely gets towards the 80 minute mark and so does Digging For Fire, his mumblecore roots are growing in ambition into something else, a more cinematic mumblecore perhaps. With an all-star cast, <more>
wonderful score and attractive widescreen photography, it reflects that Los Angeles glisten that allures so many. But even with this shine, it relishes in an uncontrolled improvisational style which is its blessing and its curse. On one hand it feels more natural, slice-of-life and the chemistry between the actors glows, but then there's a real lack of structure within each scene and the themes aren't fully fleshed out, instead letting the film be deliberately limited. However, that's part of its charm for me. In a way, it feels like a mini-Short Cuts, but rather than Altman's high drama and ambiguity, it keeps it low-key and on-the-nose at points. Same vibrancy and endearing everyday sense of humour though. I was more pleased that a film about long-term monogamy and maturing didn't go the distance and I preferred it as a mere tease. Despite that scale on a short runtime, the editing keeps it very brisk, so brisk that even 20 minutes from the end it doesn't feel like its momentum is going anywhere. I can see that complaint from many but it's at least a good time with good people, especially when we have Jake Johnson, Brie Larson, Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie DeWitt riffing in front of us. I also found it weirdly specifically relatable, as I was also housesitting in L.A. and its themes articulated some of my deeper anxieties. It doesn't investigate them, but it pried them up in a way I could see them bare. Digging For Fire never soars but it's consistently absorbing and amusing. Here's hoping Joe Swanberg does have a film in his future where he runs at it with a Paul Thomas Anderson-esque tenacity. Bring this cast for the ride too.8/10
Joe Swanberg's most emotionally mature entry to date (by alwayshungryy)
There is a striking moment in "Digging for Fire" when Tim Jake Johnson is having pizza on his bed alone, isolated from his friends, while marvelling at a shoe he unearthed from the woods. This scene is subtly moving as we begin to understand what he's trying to look for and why.This is Joe Swanberg's most emotionally mature and thematically rich entry to date. His films pull off a great feat by being dialogue- driven yet having the dialogue be almost entirely improvised. The premise of this quiet relationship study is simple, Tim and Lee, a couple who have been married for <more>
a while and have a kid together start to feel as if they have lost their individual self in this process, a weekend apart unexpectedly helps them regain perspective.At the beginning of the film, Tim finds a gun and a bone in the woods behind the house. He takes advantage of the weekend alone to have his single, drugged up friends who he can't hold a satisfying conversation with over, yet he is obsessed with his discovery and wants to keep digging. He feels disconnected, he is metaphorically digging his way out of his crisis by investing himself in this emotional escape. He wants to find mystery, excitement, meaning, a situation that's bigger than him. At the end of the day, he just wants to find something. All of this goes away at the end of his search.Lee Rosemarie DeWitt , on the other hand, is struggling with the idea that passion is absent in her life and that she has neglected her own desires. She yearns for a night out in town with her old friend but instead finds herself in the company of the dashing Ben Orlando Bloom , which helps her assess her quest to find this passion she realizes is fleeting and impermanent.The film feels surreal, it is as if Tim and Lee are in a relationship limbo, hitting pause on their life together while they find answers to their personal issues. Did they change? Have they moved on from who they were? Do they still want the same things as they did before? Are the doubts they have simply just nostalgia? In a lot of ways, what they were both looking for and what they found were the same. Both Johnson & DeWitt deliver natural performances as expected from a Swanberg film.The film's great feature is its ability to keep the viewer's mind stimulated while figuring out what it has to say about relationships and identity crisis. The only gripe I have with this film is the ending, it would have had a perfect one if it ended a minute earlier, at the film's pivotal and most emotional moment.Dan Romer's synth-heavy score is effectively minimalistic and director of photography Ben Richardson's work marks a change in style in Swanberg's most and handsomely shot film. Also, honourable mention to Brie Larson, who plays a subversive version of the "other girl" trope.
Though a Dimly lit fire, A Enduring one for Sure. (by rsj624)
While Digging for Fire is not the finest Swanberg film, for anyone who knows what they are looking to get out of his movies they will not be disappointed here. Digging for Fire is less about a man's journey to unearth a potential crime from the past buried under a clients home, but more about self exploration during a brief time apart from his marriage to his wife; whom makes up the other scenes in the film.Digging for Fire avoids being sympathetic towards either main character and rather provides a basis for us to just watch instead of judge. All involved are indeed flawed, but very <more>
human. The brief moments we share with them don't plan on leading to anything Earth shattering, but rather provide two sides to a coin flipping back and forth. If you don't care much for films lacking in plot development; rather just moving from moment to moment guiding with each scene instead of using traditional story progression, than Digging for Fire will not be for you. Anyone else should be more than pleased by this well acted and nuanced mumbercore hit, and again, while it isn't quite Drinking Buddies, or Happy Christmas, it's still a film more than worth the watch! Also, the soundtrack, while minimal is a pretty good listen as well!