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Canis Belli (2014)

| Short, Drama, War
In December 1915 the Germans deploy a deadly new form of gas - phosgene, whose horrific symptoms only manifest 48 hours after exposure. Ill informed soldiers continue to fight unaware they ... See full summary »




Credited cast:
Nicholas Cass-Beggs Nicholas Cass-Beggs ... Gottlieb
James Clay ... Lambert
Thomas Coombes ... Rawlinson
John Game John Game ... Jameson
Paul Hassall ... Haig


In December 1915 the Germans deploy a deadly new form of gas - phosgene, whose horrific symptoms only manifest 48 hours after exposure. Ill informed soldiers continue to fight unaware they have been exposed. The British 6th Division are on their knees, but one young and principled soldier decides the incessant howling of a wounded dog on the battlefield will cripple the remaining troops' morale. He ventures out into no-mans land, only to find his beliefs challenged in a way he could never have expected. Written by Anonymous

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Short | Drama | War



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Interesting & Emotional, however has a pointless plot device
23 June 2018 | by mit_barkerSee all my reviews

I'm a fan of shorts and Canis Belli fits neatly into the criteria as it just tops 10 minutes in length.

Canis Belli isn't a war story like Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan or Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down, where we see conflict, in the sense of shooting guns, and stories of valour. Canis Belli is emotional, it's heavy - even though it's only ten minutes long. It is very difficult to fit character development in ten minutes but Canis Belli does this quite well, we only really follow two characters, Gottlieb and Lambert and although we don't get as much development where we can relate to these characters, after all this tale is set in 1915, but we do feel the horror and distress our two protagonists experience in the war and Lambert and Gottlieb's decisions and actions are chilling.

Canis Belli I feel given the budget and production crew, could with some effort could be made into an interesting independent film that quite easily could be entered into a number of film festivals and accumulate a number of accolades for it's quality and image.

However, I do have an issue with the plot premise about the gas. The plot can easily go on without gas being mentioned. As a plot device, it's a bit of a pointless one. Canis Belli represents World War One to be horrible and terrifying and it does this just by the imagery we see, we don't need to think about the reason why the British trench is so undermanned is because of phosgene gas, it's because of how brutal the war is. The smoke that clouds No Mans Land that we presume is the phosgene gas, could easily just be smoke. I feel the mention of gas is just pointless and explaining the short to friends just made me trying to link the plot device of gas to the short and it was difficult to fit the plot device in.

It's from a fairly unknown director and producer and they've only really been involved in shorts before and Canis Belli has interested me in following their work.

If you want an interestingly emotional story then give it a watch.

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