DIG (Short) – Review

Dig short filmA car parks – badly, across three spaces – in a busy beach car park. The driver seems exhausted, as if mentally bracing herself to get out of the car. As the door opens, empty cans spill out, rattling across the concrete and disturbing an otherwise peaceful location. The driver trudges along to her boot and brings out a shovel.

And so begins DIG, a short film from director Gary J Hewitt. His camera follows the woman (Susan Sims) to an isolated Scottish beach, where her bright yellow rain jacket and floral wellies contrast against the grey skies and her sombre mood. She begins to dig, as the title would suggest, and a gorgeous overhead shot reveals the frantic scale of her activity.

DIG balances sweeping wide shots, showcasing miles upon miles of sand, with brief, intimate close ups, such as the one which exposes the woman’s raw and blistered hands. All the while, the waves gently lap along the shore.

There are flashbacks peppered throughout – these feel much more vivid, more full of colour – as we piece together why this mysterious, silent woman is so frantically digging up what looks like an entire coastline.

There is not much in the way of dialogue – it’s not needed as Liam MacLean’s beautiful strings score (coupled with the pain etched all over Susan Sims’ face) tell us everything we need to know. This is a film about loss.

Day becomes night and, in true Scottish fashion, brings with it torrential rain. Hewitt lights his mysterious driver beautifully, as the violet, lime and fuschia hues of a bridge gently bathe Sims in a rainbow of colour. Again, we get the mix of wide shots and piercingly intimate close ups. The patter of the rain on the pavement replaces the gentle crashing of the waves.

Dig Short filmThere are a couple of moments that will really make you gasp, here, and Sims gives a thoroughly poignant, impactful performance across such a short space of time. The score really heightens the emotion that pervades every minute.

DIG is a beautifully haunting short that really captures the trauma it seeks to portray.

The team behind DIG are running a crowdfunding campaign to help get the film on the festival circuit. You can become a backer by clicking here.

Mary Munoz
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