A Mixed Bag of Rain and Regret

A Mixed Bag of Rain and Regret

Review: Force of Nature – The Dry 2

Force of Nature the follow-up to the 2020 Australian thriller based on Jane Harper’s novel, is a film that strives for suspense but stumbles in its execution. While it boasts a change of scenery from the arid outback to the lush Victorian rainforests, it fails to capture the same captivating atmosphere and gripping plot as its predecessor.

Confusing marketed as Force of Nature: The Dry 2, it perhaps needed a less heavy-handed moniker to alert audiences to the fact that it is a sequel to the The Dry, primarily because the setting of each film is vastly different.

Force of Nature brings back Aaron Falk (Eric Bana) as the protagonist, this time investigating the disappearance of Alice Russell (Anna Torv) during a corporate team-building hike in the rain-drenched forests. The change of setting is visually refreshing, with the film showcasing the vibrant flora and the treacherous terrain beautifully. However, the initial promise of a thrilling mystery quickly dissipates.

Director Robert Connelly attempts to juggle multiple narratives: the present-day search for Alice, flashbacks to the events of the fateful hiking trip, and Falk’s personal demons stemming from a childhood tragedy. While this intricate structure aims to add depth and complexity, it ultimately becomes convoluted and confusing and in at least one case leaves story threads hanging. The constant switching between timelines disrupts the flow, hindering the development of both suspense and emotional connection.

The characters, particularly the women participating in the hike, fall flat. Their personalities are one-dimensional, and their interactions often feel forced and repetitive. This lack of character development weakens the film’s emotional impact and makes it difficult to invest in their survival or well-being. This is particularly true in the case of Alice, played by Anna Torv. The character of Alice seems to have no redeeming qualities, by turns nasty and a bully in scenes. As an audience member it leaves you with little compassion for the character.

In attempting to deliver a series of unexpected twists and turns, the film falls short of being truly surprising. The predictability of the plot leaves the viewer feeling unsatisfied, especially considering the potential that the initial setup offered.

Despite its shortcomings, Force of Nature does boast some positive elements. The performances by Bana and Torv are solid as are that of Jacqueline McKenzie as Falk’s counterpart Carmen. Perhaps is most effective achievement is the film’s visual presentation of the verdant and foreboding forests of Victoria.

While Force of Nature offers a change of scenery and attempts to deliver a suspenseful story, the sequel ultimately falls short on several fronts. The convoluted narrative, underdeveloped characters, plot holes and predictable outcome don’t work in its favour.

While the film might pique the interest of viewers unfamiliar with the original or those seeking a visually captivating experience, it fails to deliver the kind of gripping experience found in its predecessor.

Force of Nature: The Dry 2 is currently in cinemas


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