Force of Nature: The Dry 2 Image

Force of Nature: The Dry 2

By Alex Saveliev | May 14, 2024

Talk about bad titles. I don’t know whose brilliant idea it was to add the subtitle The Dry 2 to the bland but acceptable Force of Nature, as it does nothing but confuse things. Sure, it’s an attempt to link writer-director Robert Connolly’s thriller to his previous and superior The Dry – which featured Eric Bana’s Detective Falk and was also based on a Jane Harper novel. That film was actually, you know, dry, set in the sun-scorched parts of Australia. This pseudo-sequel takes place in the wettest part of the country – The Giralang Ranges – with no dry scene in sight.

If the filmmaker is creating a “Detective Falk universe” here, perhaps his adventures would have been better suited for TV, a True Detective-like series, each season self-contained. The last one was dry; this one’s wet. It makes more sense as a show. As a feature, it feels both compressed and listless, floundering between multiple storylines and getting bogged down in the unearned gravitas of it all. That said, it does have moments of real tension, and its ensemble cast keeps you invested.

Alice (Anna Torv) has gone missing in the wet Australian wilderness during a team-building exercise. Her work colleagues are concerned. It’s been over two days. Detective Falk is on the case. Things unravel in three parallel plots: Falk’s investigation, his memories of his excursion into the same area when he was a child, and flashbacks to the all-female hike-gone-wrong. “Whatever happened out there… Alice was a part of it,” a character reveals at one point.

Alice has gone missing in the wet Australian wilderness during a team-building exercise.”

One of the aforementioned storylines steals the show: the women braving the wild (though don’t expect Yellowjackets). The other strands in Force of Nature: The Dry 2 feels tacked on and stretched out. The fact that Connolly delves right into the narrative doesn’t help matters, providing little-to-no introduction or character development, presumptuously assuming the audience is familiar with the lead from the, let’s face it, mildly successful first film (have you seen it?). He both drags things out and piles things on: there’s Falk’s unresolved trauma and Alice’s questionable indignation; a survival story, a psychological thriller, a murder mystery, and a character study; a bombardment of flashbacks; a dog skeleton, and a serial killer.

Thankfully, the film contains enough saving graces to recommend it to the unassuming viewer. Composer Peter Raeburn’s melancholy score seeps through your skin. The same can be said of all that rain, beautifully captured by cinematographer Andrew Commis. Bana holds the screen despite his character’s lack of dimension and purposefully inexpressive nature. Deborra-Lee Furness, who plays the stoic Jill, boss, and lead of the team-building trip, effortlessly steals her scenes.

Overall, however, Force of Nature: The Dry 2 can’t escape its distinctly made-for-TV vibes. Perhaps stretched to an entire season, the supporting plots and characters would have room to breathe, imbuing all these dull stretches with existential meaning. As it stands, it should keep survival fans satiated, mystery fans somewhat aggravated, and those expecting dry stuff, well, utterly baffled.

Force of Nature: The Dry 2 (2024)

Directed and Written: Robert Connolly

Starring: Eric Bana, Anna Torv, Deborra-Lee Furness, Robin McLeavy, Richard Roxburgh, etc.

Movie score: 6/10

Force of Nature: The Dry 2 Image

"…does have moments of real tension, and its ensemble cast keeps you invested."

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