Married couple Tim (Jake Johnson) and Lee (Rosemaire DeWitt) are staying at a friend’s mountain home when they discover a gun and what might be human remains buried nearby. Tim is intrigued and wants to dig further while Lee wants to put the gun back and forget they found anything. She leaves with their child for the weekend and Tim invites friends over to continue searching. Digging for Fire on the surface is about these mysterious bones, but underneath lies a serious study of marriage, aging and the ever present spectre of mortality.
Digging for Fire was directed by Joe Swanberg and co-written by he and Jake Johnson. The script was essentially a 3-page long outline so actors were required to improvise most of their dialogue. Swanberg is known for this style of movie-making but when it comes to a film like this, I think it works against him. This is a very personal story about spouses who have hit an unpleasant plateau. That said, they never register as people who’ve EVER been in love. Tim and Lee barely connect with each other and seem so focused on their own dissatisfaction that they never stop to think about the other. Instead, they barrel forward, making horrible and potentially marriage-killing choices. Continue reading →