Directed by: #PeterCalvin
Written by: #BrentCrable
Given the response to pubs opening this past week, we can all understand how someone could consider risking it all for a fresh pint. That is the quandary at the heart of No Dayz Off, a wicked black comedy featuring two very parched Nazis.
Hanz (Brent Crable) and Friedrich (Wes Davis) are two soldiers out on their daily patrol. As their car breaks down, they sense an opportunity to play truant and quench their thirsts at the nearest pub they can find. But the pair are well aware of the dire risks of going AWOL. As they take turns weighing their fears of the consequences and their desperation for a drink, they stumble upon what looks like the perfect establishment they’ve been craving…
For an edgy short film, No Dayz Off is a well-performed and well-produced jaunt that is a little too one-note to be really memorable. The film’s central premise of two over-worked regular guys who just happen to be Nazi troopers is entertaining if hardly original, but the film’s short runtime is entirely dominated by back-and-forths of them describing the brutal fates that await them if they follow their innocent urges. Whilst comic, it does wear a little thin by the end – though the almost cartoonish acts they describe never lose their edge.
The performances of Brent Crable and Wes Davis as Hanz and Friedrich are stupendously flamboyant and add much-needed zing to the debacle the characters find themselves in. Their ‘Zee Germans!’ accents are possibly the most over-the-top since the days of Dad’s Army, but this works to add to the ridiculousness of the film. The pair have a genuine chemistry and their friendship is believable.
The film feels sharp and well-designed, working within its limits to deliver an authentic WW2 feel to the events. Director Peter Calvin adds a lot of little touches that add to the viewers’ enjoyment of the film, from the characters’ uniforms to the eery forest sets. The rapport between the pair is charming and the brutal and gory details they delve into to talk themselves out of a potentially fatal beer or 3 is complimented well by the camerawork.
Ultimately the film sustains itself nicely throughout its five-minute runtime, but beyond that there is not much else to sink your teeth into. The central gag powers the movie, but the eventual payoff actually feels a little anti-climactic given the build-up. Perhaps that is in fact the point, but without a more substantial punchline, the film feels lacking.
No Dayz Off is a charming enough short with a dark heart that is well worth a watch. But there’s little more to the film than this that will resonate with audiences.