A wave of excitement came over me when the opening credits to Digging with Fire announced the following names: Jake Johnson, Rosemarie DeWitt, Anna Kendrick, Brie Larson, Chris Messina, Sam Rockwell, Orlando Bloom, Melanie Lynskey, Sam Elliot, Ron Livingston.
As the story progressed, the excitement gave way to engagement.
In truth, I have no better relationship with a director’s output than I do with Joe Swanberg. The way his films improve one after the other, outdoing themselves in ambition and production values, is what every filmmaker aspires to accomplish.
Drinking Buddies (B-) was redeemed because of the chemistry between Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson; Happy Christmas (B) was a nice slice of life that never fancied itself more than the small tale it was; and Digging for Fire, while exploring subjects that have been done to death in indies before (marriage fizzling, how children change everything), brings a certain tenderness and sadness to the couple’s plight, without overly dramatizing or romanticizing their weekend apart.
At this rate, I fully expect that within two to three years, Joe Swanberg will have had produced a cinematic masterpiece that will rank into one of my favorites.
But there’s no rush.
I’m still enjoying his latest offering.