Angry Nerd Movie Review: Eternal Code
Recently I was fortunate enough to watch Eternal Code from writer/director Harley Wallen. According to the IMDb synopsis, “Eternal life technology (transferring mind to new body) is developed by two companies. Resistance to the merger of the two companies is met with kidnapping and murder,” and this is perfectly accurate, but still leaves quite a bit of the plot unspoiled.
Harley Wallen is a veteran filmmaker and has really honed his craft to the point that he gets amazing performances out of all of his cast and crew, most notably Richard Tyson (Kindergarten Cop) who plays just the sleaziest, slimiest antagonist – and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. He was excellent. Scout Taylor-Compton (Rob Zombie’s Halloween) was also awesome in her small role, and that’s something that really stood out for me. It’s so rare in independent films with big-name actors to have those actors give their all to a performance that isn’t a big-budget film. It was not only refreshing to see, but it also speaks volumes to Harley’s skill behind the camera. I also suspect that Harley acting in this film really helped solidify the relationship with his actors.
This film has a lot of really strong performances from all the actors, from Billy Wirth, Yan Birch, Mel Novak, Erika Hoveland, Damien Chinappi, Kaiti Wallen, Angela Danielle Cama, Vida Ghaffari, and Calhoun Koenig to Harley himself, there is a lot of talent on display. I really liked how this film focuses on the moral choices we face every day to some deep existential choices that we feel like we could make…until we find ourselves in the positions presented by the film. I don’t like getting too deep into the plot of the films I cover because I prefer you see the films and I’d like to leave as much behind the veil as possible while still giving you my thoughts on it.
I did find this plot to be a bit lacking in that this film feels very much like the middle installment of a trilogy. I want to know more about Corey’s (Damien Chinappi) backstory, as well as how the close relationship between Stephanie, Stacey, and Sidney (Kaiti Wallen, Angela Roberts Johnson, and Whitney Wagner respectively) formed. I also want to see more in the form of an epilogue, I want to know what comes next for these characters and others. It feels unresolved because of the cliffhanger ending, but I’m sure Harley’s got some great ideas kicking around for where things started and where they’re headed. Honestly, I think this is a good filmmaking technique if you can pull it off; drop the audience in the middle of a story with characters you’ve established in your head and on paper, tell a compelling story and give people just enough to leave them wanting more. This isn’t easy to do, but I think Harley and his cast and crew did a great job of pulling off this difficult task.
I absolutely recommend this film. I like the plot, I like the story elements that make it up, and I like the way it was brought to life on screen. There was never any boring stuff to slog through as the pacing was done well and the story doesn’t have much in the way of unbelievable plot contrivances; it seems like the way things happen in the film is pretty much how they’d happen in reality. Obviously, like any work of fiction there is a suspension of disbelief, but not as much as you’d think. I enjoyed this film, and I think if you’re into action films with drama and some sci-fi elements, you’ll enjoy it too.