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The story of the five-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky and acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace, which took place right after the 1996 publication of Wallace's groundbreaking epic novel, 'Infinite Jest.'
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James C. Strouse
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The boy in the film is director/writer Joe Swanberg's real son. See more »
About 12:44 into the movie, Lee drives off in a gray Toyota Corolla. The model year is in the 2009-2013 range. But at 13:09 when she is pulling into a driveway, she is now driving a 2014-2016 gray Toyota Corolla. See more »
Joe Swanberg's most emotionally mature entry to date
There is a striking moment in "Digging for Fire" when Tim (Jake Johnson) is having pizza on his bed alone, isolated from his friends, while marvelling at a shoe he unearthed from the woods. This scene is subtly moving as we begin to understand what he's trying to look for and why.
This is Joe Swanberg's most emotionally mature and thematically rich entry to date. His films pull off a great feat by being dialogue- driven yet having the dialogue be almost entirely improvised. The premise of this quiet relationship study is simple, Tim and Lee, a couple who have been married for a while and have a kid together start to feel as if they have lost their individual self in this process, a weekend apart unexpectedly helps them regain perspective.
At the beginning of the film, Tim finds a gun and a bone in the woods behind the house. He takes advantage of the weekend alone to have his single, drugged up friends who he can't hold a satisfying conversation with over, yet he is obsessed with his discovery and wants to keep digging. He feels disconnected, he is metaphorically digging his way out of his crisis by investing himself in this emotional escape. He wants to find mystery, excitement, meaning, a situation that's bigger than him. At the end of the day, he just wants to find something. All of this goes away at the end of his search.
Lee (Rosemarie DeWitt), on the other hand, is struggling with the idea that passion is absent in her life and that she has neglected her own desires. She yearns for a night out in town with her old friend but instead finds herself in the company of the dashing Ben (Orlando Bloom), which helps her assess her quest to find this passion she realizes is fleeting and impermanent.
The film feels surreal, it is as if Tim and Lee are in a relationship limbo, hitting pause on their life together while they find answers to their personal issues. Did they change? Have they moved on from who they were? Do they still want the same things as they did before? Are the doubts they have simply just nostalgia? In a lot of ways, what they were both looking for and what they found were the same. Both Johnson & DeWitt deliver natural performances as expected from a Swanberg film.
The film's great feature is its ability to keep the viewer's mind stimulated while figuring out what it has to say about relationships and identity crisis. The only gripe I have with this film is the ending, it would have had a perfect one if it ended a minute earlier, at the film's pivotal and most emotional moment.
Dan Romer's synth-heavy score is effectively minimalistic and director of photography Ben Richardson's work marks a change in style in Swanberg's most and handsomely shot film. Also, honourable mention to Brie Larson, who plays a subversive version of the "other girl" trope.
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