What originally drew my attention to the film Diggers was the cast. With Paul Rudd, Ken Marino (Ron Donald from Party Down) and Lauren Ambrose (Claire Fischer from Six Feet Under), I figured this would have to be a fairly amusing film. While the film did have its funny moments, it was much darker than I expected. Though it wasn’t exactly what I expected, I really enjoyed watching this film.
This film takes a look at a brother and sister duo as they attempt to deal with the sudden death of their father, played by Beeson Carroll. Hunt (Paul Rudd) was the one who found his father after he had passed away. He had been waiting for Hunt in his fishing boat where the two met often for their jobs, digging for clams. A funeral is quickly held and the audience is introduced to the main characters. We have Hunt’s sister Gina (Maura Tierney) who is very close with Hunt and even closer with her father whom she lived with. The other players are Hunt’s clam digging friends: the family man Lozo (Ken Marino) who is married to Julie (Sarah Paulson), the horn dog Jack (Ron Eldard) and the philosopher Cons (Josh Hamilton). While each of the side characters do have good side stories, the film is really about how Gina and Hunt handle the same situation in very different ways.
Both Gina and Hunt have lived in the same town all their lives and both have had a reason to stay there. They both had their father, they each have their own job and they have each other. After their father passed, both Gina and Hunt were forced to look at their reasons for sticking around. Gina realizes that she is happy where she is, with her own house, a job she enjoys and friends. Hunt on the other hand hates the town and hates his job. With no real reason to stay, Hunt tries to make up reason to force him to be anchored down. He convinces himself that Gina needs to be watched, protected and taken care of though she is perfectly fine on her own. He also begins a relationship with an out of town girl Zoey (Laura Ambrose). Hunt tries to convince himself that the relationship is getting serious but it becomes clear that for Zoey, it is just a summer fling.
This film had more layers than I anticipated, giving the characters room to grow and develop. Not only are Gina and Hunt going over their reasons to stay in their hometown, they are also forced to think about their time with their father. Gina pretty much knew where she stood but a little investigation shows Hunt that his father appreciated him more than he previously thought. On top of that, a commercial clamming company has moved into town and started buying up the surrounding water. Losing places to dig for clams, Hunt and his friends are left to try and fend for themselves while making enough money to support their own lifestyles, which in turn forces them to consider if their freelance digging is something that can support them forever.
While there was nothing particularly special about this film, I found it to be oddly compelling and enjoyable to watch. What really drew me into the film was the characters. There was a sarcasm and grittiness that existed in the dialogue, the set and the personality of the film that made it easy to connect with. I felt as if I were watching real people deal with real problems. The film’s ability to draw me in could be attributed mainly to the acting as most of the actors acted like real people. I give this film a 7 out of 10, it’s not a must see but it is certainly worth watching.
With a cast consisting of Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Jason Schwartzman, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and Harvey Keitel, it is difficult to fathom that two, fairly unknown child actors could have stolen the show. This brilliant cast proves what it means to be supporting in Wes Anderson’s latest film, Moonrise Kingdom. A love story between two young children, the film is filled with crazy, flawed characters and the spirit of youth.
The story begins when two children, Sam Shakusky (Jared Gilman) and Suzy Bishop (Kara Hayward), run away together. After meeting randomly at a play, Suzy and Sam became pen pals for a year before hatching their escape plan. Sam runs away from his Khaki Scout campsite (very similar to a boy scout camp), which is lead by Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton). Suzy escapes from her own house, where she lives with her three brothers and her parents, Walt and Laura Bishop (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand). When it becomes clear that the two children ran away together, Suzy’s parents and Scout Master Ward enlist the help of the rest of the Khaki Scouts and Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis) to help find the children. Follow the children’s escape and the search for the children; we eventually learn that both Sam and Suzy are both considered to be disturbed children. Sam is an orphan, living at a house that does not want him to return so when his summer is over, he will be returning to an orphanage with Social Services (Tilda Swinton). Suzy has some anger issues that lead most who know her to regard her as a problem child. Both Sam and Suzy found a common bond between feeling outcast and that bond grew to love.
Wes Anderson has a very unique directorial style that fit this story perfectly. The bulk of the story focuses on the two main children and the innocence of their love and relationship. While adults attempt to hold them back a label them “problems” the two children simply want to share their love together. Anderson’s unique used the camera to show the audience the beauty of the young love. Each set and shot that contained adults were very symmetrical, box like shots. Everything was rigid, even, made up of straight lines and sharp corners. The shots represent the world that the adults have constructed around the two troubled children. Juxtaposing these shots with shots of the children making their way through the wilderness, where almost no symmetry or straight lines exist, makes their world and therefore their story seem magical.
Beyond just directing, Wes Anderson also wrote the film and, like most of his films, he filled it with an array of interesting characters. The two characters, Sam and Suzy, that in theory had the greatest flaws easily overcame them. They each found a person that could understand their problems and used that person to find happiness in their lives. While each adult character was hilariously funny, each adult character was flawed and they allowed their flaws to get in their way. As the story unfolds, each adult seems to learn a lesson from the children and eventually, the children’s adventure teaches each adult to do the right thing for themselves, their families and the two main children.
I could keep talking about each and every aspect of this film for pages and pages but at some point, this review has to end. A few quick comments about some concepts I didn’t mention. The film’s soundtrack was perfect (I am actually listening to it right now) and the scenery is equally whimsically, imaginative and fantastical. While Sam and Suzy steal the show, the rest of the Khaki Scouts are equally amazing and amusing as they learn to stop teasing Sam and eventually end up helping him. Jason Schwartzman gives a cameo as Cousin Ben, the oldest Khaki Scout you’ve ever seen and who helps Sam and Suzy escape. Harvey Keitel also makes an appearance as Commander Pierce, the Commander of all the Khaki troops. The film was funny and heartwarming, another masterpiece from Wes Anderson. I give the film a 10 out of 10 and, though its tough since it still is in limited release, urge you to see it before it escapes theaters.