Soft for Digging Review
By Christopher Null
I'm a sucker for a gimmick: Memento, Primer, Frequency -- these are all films that I greatly enjoyed but which probably wouldn't have worked as well without some nutty goof like time travel or backwards storytelling.
Soft for Digging's gimmick is that -- for the most part -- it's a silent film. The story, as it is, follows a hermit-like old man who witnesses a murder, runs away from the killer, calls the police, discovers there's no body buried where he saw it happen, and goes on a personal hunt to find the killer. The only explanations for any of this occur on camera sans dialogue and through title cards that periodically interrupt the action and divide it into "chapters."
Intriguing for the first half hour, Digging's gimmick unfortunately gets tiresome too quickly. Sitting through long scenes of action where nothing really happens, you soon begin to feel like Digging could have been a short film, if only it had included a couple of lines of dialogue to dispatch with some otherwise lengthy and pointless sequences.
By the end, Digging turns into a mind game, with the spirit of the dead girl appearing and an abrupt voice over that "explains" the previous 70 minutes. The finale isn't terribly satisfying but at least it explains what you were seeing for the last hour and change.
The least successful aspect of the movie is Edmond Mercier's appearance in the lead role. He's a non-actor with non-skills, and he looks alternately surprised and confused as he grunts his way through the film. What his relationship to writer/director J.T. Petty is I'll never know, but his halting, self-conscious performance is laughable.
Facts and Figures
In Theaters: Tuesday 1st January 2002
Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Fresh: 5 Rotten: 2
Cast & Crew