Dec 20, 2022
Stan Morgan, Jack Waldouck
In this tense story an error might lead to a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union.
Inspired by the 1983 Soviet nuclear false alarm incident, the plot of this short takes place in 1983, inside a communications bunker on the coast of Siberia and follows two members of the Soviet Armed Forces as they try to prevent a nuclear conflict.
The film begins with Officer Krovolov (Waldouck) and his subordinate Vlad (Morgan) as they transmit an order, order 27. which authorises the launch of missiles towards the U.S., as a Soviet radar identified missiles from the U.S. moving towards the Soviet Union. However, their superiors in Moscow contact the two men and inform them that it was a false alarm and that they must cancel the order. Unfortunately, it is too late, as the Soviet missiles have already been launched. Now Vlad and Krovolov have very little time to make the impossible possible in order to prevent a devastating conflict between the Soviet Union and the U.S.
Although the narrative deals with an extremely serious and global life-threatening situation, this is actually a dark comedy and an amusing one too, thanks to a clever screenplay and the performances by Morgan and Waldouck. The audience watches the two protagonists as they desperately attempt to resolve the situation. They communicate by phone with their superiors in Moscow and with a high-ranking member of the U.S. Armed Forces in Washington, hoping to avert the disaster. As the dealine approaches, the tension rises and rises, yet the humour remains, making the atmosphere dramatic and comedic.
Almost the entire story takes place inside the bunker and the mise-en-scene looks quite realistic, with a radar, computers and communication machinery. The uniforms also look great.
As the only people in the story (who are visually present at least), Waldouck and Morgan do a terrific job in being entertaining and simultaneously convincing as members of the Soviet Armed Forces.
A lot of praise goes to composer Mike Ellaway for the fantastic work on a score that creates a humorous atmosphere. The creative lighting techniques, along with Billy Kendall's cinematography, establish a realistic environment in the interior of a bunker.
This short is a lot of things. It is a war film. It is a period piece. It is a dark comedy. It is a race-against-the-clock story. It is a satirical view on nuclear war and the relations between the United States and the Soviet Union. It is funny, yet it is also frightening, as it shows how quickly a war can break out.