The Quarry takes on a number of different stories within its runtime while looking at redemption, forgiveness, and prejudice, but it struggles to cover any of them fully or come to a clear conclusion within its narrative.
Scott Teems does a solid job of directing the film, and his choice of shots leads to some beautiful moments within the film, however the overall pacing and switching between different characters leads to a disappointing and underwhelming experience. At times, it felt like we the audience were in the sleepy forgotten town, but this did not feel like an advantage and at no point did a sense of tension develop to truly engage the audience.
Based on a novel of the same name by Damon Galgut, it’s difficult to know if the problems with the plot structure and underwhelming finale lie with the source text or with the adaptation. By not picking a clear central character to focus on, there is no tension around The Man and his potential reveal. Instead, the plot meanders along in a fairly by-the-numbers fashion, and though there is some resolution, it does not feel satisfying.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Shea Whigham (The Man) and Michael Shannon (Chief Moore) share the screen time in the lead roles but feel hollow and undeveloped. We never find out what crimes The Man has committed, and it’s hard to know if we should feel empathy for his attempt at redemption, or disdain for his previous crimes and impersonation. Though there are hints and flashbacks to the past of both characters, it always feels as though there is a gap between them and the audience. The supporting characters of Valentin and Poco are far more interesting, with the wrongly accused Valentin becoming the closest to a realistic character, but the brothers are equally not explored to their full extent.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
The closing song as sung by one of the supporting characters was beautiful and only made me more frustrated that the supporting cast had not been fully explored.
The film is so beige. Everything looks so sandy that it almost feels sandy, and it makes the overall tone of the film feel all the bleaker and depressing – and unappealing. They capture the sadness of the town, but possibly too well.
"...Feels like a film that’s been made already."
The Quarry is by no means a bad film, but it also feels like a film that’s been made already; it’s very dated already considering it’s a new 2020 release. There’s plenty for people to like, but I found the mystery thriller to be lacking a lot of the thrill.