Directed by Rob Mullins Starring Dominic Moore, Shane Casey & Irene Kelleher
Short film review by Chris Olson Crime comedy pastiche from director Rob Mullins, DIG is a rather delightful tale of foibles and survival wrapped in a blanket of gangsterisms. Telling the story of two henchmen attempting to bury a woman in the woods, where things go from shaky to worse for these bumbling bruisers when the victim starts to enact plans of her own.
From the opening sequence of Dominic Moore and Shane Casey arriving in the secluded location, showing Casey’s white trainers against the muddy ground, Mullins' short film delivers a formidable presence of confident comedy. The script is razor sharp with outrageous yet believable dialogue between these hired goons, their comic banter and mild contempt for each other is completely engrossing. The introduction of Irene Kelleher is fantastic, who delivers a wonderful turn as the terrified captive. Aesthetically the film is smart and does not overreach with multiple locations or flashback sequences which it could easily have done, instead opting to stay in the moment. DIG therefore benefits from being a lot tighter, allowing the epic script from Mullins and David Horgan to do the heavy lifting, which it does with ease. That is not to say Mullins does not incorporate some brilliant shots, assisted by his DoP Justin McCarthy. Low angle framing of the characters from the hole they have dug is a fantastic way of revealing the seedy nature of the plot, there is also a lovely piece of editing during a heated exchange about a sock.
There is a familiarity with the characters in DIG, goon duos have been done before and the calamitous nature of their endeavours feels akin to Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern from Home Alone. But as with the best crime pairings, there is something completely endearing about these characters. Their criminal activities are second to their human vulnerability, and as the filmmaker tells the story from their perspective, the audience feels connected to their journey and culpable with the outcome. This idea of sympathising with villainous elements is a delicate balancing act, one which Mullins toes with expert care. The soundtrack to the short film is wonderful, opening with “Nitty Gritty” playing on the car radio, which adds to this juxtaposition between the heavy danger and the comic buffoonery that emanates throughout the movie. It is decisions like that which reveal Mullins as a craftsman, taking expert care to create a coherent tone alongside bold filmmaking, especially in a genre (gangster) that carries huge expectations. A genuinely funny movie, DIG is a hole load of fun with three superb performances and strong, deliberate direction from a promising filmmaker.