Eric Bana is Back on the Case in FORCE OF NATURE: THE DRY 2

2020’s The Dry is a one of many early pandemic movies lost in the shuffle of the more important real-worlds events at the time. Those who found their way to it discovered a great mystery. Adapted from the Jane Harper novel of the same name, The Dryscratched two itches. First, it’s trendy to stretch adaptations into TV shows that inevitably drag. The Dry is a tight two hours. Second, it gave Eric Bana a character he could sink his teeth into. With the release of Force of Nature: The Dry 2, it appears we have a new series on our hands. 

Like its predecessor, The Dry 2, is a smart, adult drama. It’s the kind of movie people like to lament isn’t made anymore. Butthat’s not true and it never has been. You just have to know where to look, which is admittedly trickier that it used to be. 

Picking up a year after the events of the first film, The Dry 2finds detective Aaron Falk (Bana) working the disappearance of Alice (Anna Torv) during a hiking trip with her colleagues. Falk is working a money laundering case, of which Alice is a potential key cog. Not only that, but the forest where the story is set is an important part of Falk’s past, which is slowly revealedthroughout the film. 

With at least four potential suspects, combative local police, and looming storms, the atmosphere is suffocating. Returning writer and director Robert Connolly proves himself to be a strong craftsman. The nuts and bolts of the mystery intertwine with Falk’s personal drama deftly, creating a sense of inevitability as the story progresses. Fans of the genre won’t be particularly surprised by how the story plays out, but there is a certain satisfaction comes from telling a mystery well and landing the plane. Connolly knows how to deliver the goods in that regard. As a director, he paces the story well and leaves plenty of room for the actors to find their moments. It’s not reinventing the wheel, but it is a highly effective use of tools. 

Of all the things The Dry 2 does well, the best thing it does is a prove itself as a worthy film series that will hopefully lead to The Dry 3 and beyond. Connolly and Bana have a strong take on the character of Falk and a great sense of location. I’d love to catch up with this world every few years.

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