The Dry film stars Eric Bana, Genevieve O’Reilly, Matt Nable, James Frecheville, Keir O’Donnell, Jeremy Lindsay Taylor, Eddie Baroo, and BeBe Bettencourt in a complex murder mystery in the outback of Australia. The film is based on the 2016 book of the same name by Jane Harper. Roadshow Films released the film in Australia on 1 January 2021, and received critical acclaim. IFC Films will be releasing the film in the United States on 21 May 2021.
Here’s the synopsis:
When Federal Agent Aaron Falk returns to his home town after an absence of over twenty years to attend the funeral of his childhood friend, Luke, who allegedly killed his wife and child before taking his own life – a victim of the madness that has ravaged this community after more than a decade of drought. When Falk reluctantly agrees to stay and investigate the crime, he opens up an old wound – the death of 17- year-old Ellie Deacon. Falk begins to suspect these two crimes, separated by decades, are connected. As he struggles to prove not only Luke’s innocence but also his own, Falk finds himself pitted against prejudice towards him and and pent-up rage of a terrified community.
WARNING. COMPLETE SPOILER BELOW!
Federal Agent Aaron Falk returns to his home town Kiewarra after an absence of over twenty years to attend the funeral of his childhood friend, Luke, who allegedly killed his wife Karen and child Billy (sparing baby daughter Charlotte) before taking his own life. At the persuasion of Luke’s parents, Falk reluctantly agrees to stay and investigate the circumstances of the crime.
Falk is continuously harassed by the townspeople, following the now twenty-year-old death of 17-year-old Ellie Deacon, a close friend of his that he was romantically involved with. Falk was immediately suspected for the death, as he gave her a note that day asking her to meet him at the river, only for her not to show and be found by her father and the police, drowned in the river. Falk and his father then left the town to avoid harassment from Ellie’s ruthless father Mal.
With the help of the local sergeant Greg Raco, he begins to look into the events. They discover that the bullets used in the crime were Remingtons while Luke only owned Winchesters, indicating that the killer used different ammunition to what the family owned.
Falk interviews Scott Whitlam, the principal of the local school and Karen’s boss, who explains that although she was struggling to gather funding for the school, she didn’t seem to have any troubles. Falk discovers the word ‘grant?’ on the back of the library receipt, leading Falk to suspect that Ellie’s brother, Grant Dow, wants to purchase the family’s farm once it goes on the market due to Luke’s parents being unable to keep it. Dow denies this, although he and Mal are still vile towards Falk.
When Falk visits Gretchen, another childhood friend and Karen’s co-worker, she explains some documents on her table are applications for school funding. While reminiscing over an old photo album, Falk discovers that Luke is the father of Gretchen’s son Lachlan. Falk takes some of the funding applications and realises that Karen’s writing of ‘grant?’ referred to funds being granted, not Dow, now suspecting Whitlam of embezzlement.
Falk and Raco go to question Whitlam at the school, only to find he has fled to the bush with oil and a lighter. Whitlam admits to his gambling addiction and stealing money from the school to pay back his debts, and that he murdered the family to cover up his fraud. Whitlam drenches himself in the oil and lights himself on fire to kill himself. Falk and Raco tackle the burning Whitlam to the ground and put out the fire themselves, stopping it from spreading to the trees and sparking a bushfire. While Raco is burnt and hospitalised, the investigation is closed, and Luke’s parents thank Falk for proving Luke’s innocence.
Leaving town, Falk visits the rocky area that he and Ellie used to frequent, only to find her old backpack, which contains a journal noting that Mal was abusing her. Flashbacks indicate that Mal killed her himself by drowning her. Falk walks back with the backpack along the riverbed, now completely dry.
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