THE CODE (2014)
Mini-Series on DVD
Ned Banks, a web journalist, reports on a mysterious car crash incident in the Australian outback town of Lindara involving two teenagers, one of whom survived. After retrieving a video off the phone of the deceased victim and posting it on his employer’s news website Password, Ned and his autistic hacker brother Jesse find themselves with a target on their back as the incident appears to be linked to something which the country’s senior politicians and state security don’t want them to see.
THE CODE is a gripping, Australian political thriller split into six 55 minute episodes that keeps viewers on the edge of their seat with its twists, turns and action. The writers seem to have taken a leaf out of the Nordic book of thriller mini-series with a solid effort which manages to balance the story with drama and character development amid sweeping cinematography of the stunning Australian locations. Unrelenting pace ensures the plot keeps moving whilst the viewer discovers more about the various characters within the series, all of whom lead colourful lives in one way or another. Though it may be a political thriller, the way in which it is presented allows non-politically interested viewers to get involved, understand and enjoy the plot which sees the characters visit a variety of locations including the metropolitan city of Canberra and the fictional outback town of Lindara. Whilst these two locations couldn’t be any more different, they share a secret link which the lead character of Ned and his brother Jesse accidentally uncover.
Dan Spielman convincingly stars as Ned Banks, an eager but struggling internet journalist who’s looking for his big break. When he’s given some photos to publish by his ex-girlfriend and current government communications officer Sophie (Chelsie Preston Crayford), of a minister who’s been up to no good, he discovers a piece of paper with the word “Lindara” written on it. This piques Ned’s curiousity and so he begins to dig into what the word could refer to. With the help of his brother Jesse, who’s hacking abilities are both his gift and downfall, the duo uncover something potentially big which puts their lives, and those they care about, in danger.
Ashley Zukerman is outstanding as autistic young man Jesse Banks, who’s skills on the computer have got him into trouble in the past. Living with his brother Ned, Jesse often feels like part of a problem in Ned’s life due to his disability and soon realises he has to be become a solution when a broken video clip containing crucial evidence lands in his brother’s lap.
A stellar cast including Adele Perovic, Paul Tassone, Dan Wyllie, Aden Young, Aaron L. McGrath, Steve Rodgers, David Wenham and Xena Warrior Princess herself, Lucy Lawless, coupled with a strong screenplay ensures THE CODE is one of the most gripping thrillers to be screened on TV in quite some years, especially in a time where Government secrets all over the globe are being questioned more than ever.
The series features some stunning cinematography, particularly of the outback. The dry, dusty desert is beautiful but soon turns frightening when Lindora school teacher Alex (Lucy lawless) discovers what horror has occured in the usually peaceful town. The colours are a vibrant contrast to the cold, blue-ish colours of the city’s government boardrooms and offices where secrets are whispered and plans are plotted.
Visuals play a big part in the series with the computer usage and hacking visualised on screen. Much of it has to be taken with a pinch of salt when comparing it with the reality of hacking, but the display does add a techno-feel to the series that helps to deliver the story.
Combining conspiracies, government cover-ups, modern detective thrillers and computer hacking, THE CODE is a modern-day thriller that will entertain audiences both young and old and shows the Nordic countries that Australia too can deliver smart, hard-hitting and stylish thrillers.