Directed by Luke Shelley
Written by Luke Shelley and Craig Busek
Starring Nigel Barber, Pippa Winslow, Max Cavenham
Short Film Review by Chris Olson
Who would have thought that a cold-war story would be relevant in 2017, but given the current climate of global politics short film Dropkick, written by Luke Shelley and Craig Busek, is a triumphantly thrilling exploration of political expediency and megalomania that is ultimately, and regrettably, completely necessary viewing.
It's 1984 and President Keates (Nigel Barber) and his loyal Special Agent Haines (Max Cavenham) are holed up in a dusty bunker where the First Lady (Pippa Winslow) has just arrived, completely perturbed by the sudden and mysterious need for such a location. Once she is able to extract some details from the tight-lipped Haines and her husband, it becomes terrifyingly apparent that this Cold War setting has some rather obvious connotations for them. However, what's not apparent, are the details and motivations of all the players.
A fantastically paced and consistent drama/thriller, director Shelley glues his feat to the period of his piece and maintains a tremendous aesthetic and atmosphere throughout. The dialogue is expertly tense, with characters given plenty of meaty lines with lots of political bite, without ever dropping the brilliantly crafted imminent sense of threat which is palpable and will keep the audience utterly transfixed.
Music, from Jack Pierce, is used well to enhance and combine the varying themes which are being utilised in the story, such as war, patriotism, survival, and morality. His score had elements which were quickly linked to military and politics in order to set the tone and to highlight the ludicrousness of the situation and the reality of its consequences. The atmosphere was also complemented by some striking lighting, in particular the opening shot of the iconic Seal of the President.
All three performances were convincing and well executed. I particularly enjoyed Winslow's depth as the moral conscience of the piece. Her tenacity at extracting information from Haines was equal to her incredulity at the President's actions and attitude. Dropkick has a pedigree about it that could stand toe-to-toe with the heavyweights of the genre, which rely hugely on impressive performances, such as Nixon, All the President's Men and even a solid TV show like House of Cards.
As with many great short films, I would have happily watched a feature length with these characters and believe Shelley and Busek's writing would have easily coped with a longer duration.
Watch the official movie trailer for Dropkick below...