Directed by: Patrick Ryder Written by: Cheryl Neve Cinematography by: Richard Oakes Starring: Robert Dukes, Kevin Leslie, Jacob Anderton, Kelly Browne, Neal Ward, Christopher Mulvin, Short Film Review by: Chris Olson
The emotional tumult of war given a visually compelling spin in this short film from director Patrick Ryder. The Code is a story of survival, brotherhood, and sacrifice that delves deep into the brutality of conflict.
Robert Dukes, Kevin Leslie, and Jacob Anderton play soldiers in the the Royal Essex Regiment. Their situation is dire, being hounded by enemy combatants as they attempt to flee across the countryside. Stumbling across a downed and cantankerous German pilot (Christopher Mulvin), they find a code upon his person that could be a significant discovery for the Allies, or the harbinger of even more peril.
Anyone familiar with Ryder as a filmmaker knows they can go into a screening of any one of his films confident in the knowledge that the visual spectacle will be in plentiful supply. With Richard Oakes providing the sublime cinematography in The Code, audiences can rest assured that their eyes will not be left wanting. On top of that, Ryder brings his own take on the war genre, with an intelligently constructed narrative (written by Cheryl Neve) that is as poignant as it is thrilling, and daring to go bolder with each scene.
Some of the performances are melodramatic, running through a predictable formation of honourable intentions without much variation to any other wartime movie. The dialogue was clunky and wooden at times. That being said, Dukes was particularly memorable in his scenes with Mulvin, the two creating a palpable sense of tension as the mystery of the code is discussed with intriguing dynamics given they are both pawns in a much larger game. It was the mystery surrounding the plot which drew me in and something I wanted more of.
Although The Code is based on true events, it doesn't quite reach the levels of Ryder's previous works in terms of being a fascinating premise (such as Human) or an original ideal (such as Flux) but you do get a rock solid piece of short filmmaking that dares to tell another war story using bold cinema and consistently impressive visuals. The gutsy approach to the violence and smooth filming (look out for the wonderful dance hall sequence) make this a notable entry into the top short films of the year.
Watch the official movie trailer below...