Diggers is less like a movie than a moment, a few minutes of poking your head into someone else's life. It's a small, quiet movie where nothing much happens, but its subtle charms make it worth a look — especially because it's already available on DVD.
Diggers focuses on a ragtag group of of clam diggers growing up on Long Island in 1976. It's a hardworking but mostly comfortable life — until a big corporation starts encroaching on their turf. In the midst of the storm is Hunt (played with a quiet sweetness by Paul Rudd), a slacker-digger who oversleeps one morning and later finds his father, whom he was supposed to dig with that day, dead in the water. The death prompts Hunt and his friends — the angry Frankie (Ken Marino, who also wrote the movie), lowbrow pot dealer Cons (Josh Hamilton), and ladies' man Jack (Ron Eldard) — to re-examine their own lives, so
For Hunt, that means developing a flirtation with Zoey (Lauren Ambrose), a city girl visiting Long Island. It's clear that Hunt isn't completely resigned to the digger life — he's also a wannabe artist who takes black-and-white Polaroids of everything — and Zoey encourages Hunt's desires to escape. I'm not quite sure what to make of Zoey; she's written like a city sophisticate, but Ambrose plays her as something more suspicious, like she's hiding a whole history we don't really ever see.
But it hardly matters, because at its heart, Diggers is a buddy film. I couldn't help being reminded of Beautiful Girls, another movie about a clan of old friends. In Diggers, the guys are so used to being around each other that their greeting is the finger and their banter is sharp but old-sweatshirt comfortable. Their dramas are small but not insignificant, and that's what ultimately makes Diggers feel real.
Photos courtesy of Magnolia Pictures