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Jacqueline McKenzie and Eric Bana in Force of Nature – The Dry 2 (IMDB)

Force of Nature – The Dry 2 is an Australian mystery thriller about five co-workers who go hiking on a staff retreat but only four return. Source: Australian Catholics.

The film is written and directed by Robert Connolly, and is a well-cast complement to his 2020 film, The Dry, which was based on the best-selling debut novel of the same name by Jane Harper in 2016. Her next book, Force of Nature, on which this film is based, was published in 2017. 

Eric Bana returns to reprise his role as federal agent Aaron Falk who is called in to investigate the disappearance of Alice (Torv), one of the women who went on the staff retreat. Falk is a police officer in a financial investigation unit in Melbourne, and he is joined by federal agent Carmen Cooper (McKenzie). Together, Falk and Cooper head into the mountains to conduct a search for Alice. Both, however, have previously pressured Alice into cooperating with them in building a case against the company that employs the women. The Dandenong Ranges, the Yarra Valley and the Otways supply the scenery.

Tensions escalate, and the challenges of the environment loom large. Using the imagery of Harper, the film captures the novel’s “imagined darkness of native bushland”.

Alice has left a desperate message on her mobile phone, and there are rumours of a serial killer on the loose in the bush. Alice was a whistle-blower on the corrupt conduct of the company, and it is ominous that she is the one who has disappeared. The four remaining women are traumatised by Alice’s disappearance. Their plight reminds one of the “forces of nature” that communicated tensions so well in Peter Weir’s Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975).

The women begin to quarrel with each other; their disagreements turn physical; and their interactions with the environment that surrounds them result in major dread. The women evidence friendship and suspicion but also demonstrate betrayal, mistrust and unrest. 

Review by Peter W Sheehan

Force of Nature – The Dry 2: Starring Eric Bana, Anna Torv, Debora-Lee Furness and Robin McLeavy. Directed by Robert Connolly. Rated M (Mature themes and coarse language). 112 min.


Force of Nature – The Dry 2 (Jesuit Media via Australian Catholics)