Jake Goldstein-Street’s review published on Letterboxd:
That's life that's revealed and that's why we dig
If treasure is in the ground for 1,400 years, did the people who died with it really exist? And when we die, what will be left of us to be remembered a millennium later? Just a shard of a teacup and a coin? If we can't protect the people closest to us, are we even worthy of existence? If we aren't credited in this lifetime, will we have ever existed?
These are the questions Simon Stone is grappling with in this movie. I'm not sure he pulls it off at every turn, but it picks up thematically and cinematically about 45 minutes in. This is the same point in which it somewhat loses track of its main characters, pulling away from them in favor of the dig acting as an all-consuming force of kismet and discovery, not just of what's in the ground but what's in our hearts and minds.
It's a striking metaphor and the dialogue is never too hammy as to point out exactly what it means for each character. I admire the subtlety at work here and wish other filmmakers took notes on how to drive points home through glances and single phrases, rather than monologues shoving their ideas down your throat.
P.S. I had never before seen Johnny Flynn, who plays Rory Lomax, but he is magnetic in this. And please give Lily James a role in post-1950 Britain.
We die and we decay. We don't live on