Review – Code Break directed by Jeffrey Tipton

Written and directed by Jeffrey Tipton, Code Break is a 2023 action adventure feature that stars Chelsea Gilson, Karl Chaffey and Bobby Britton.

Written and directed by Jeffrey Tipton, Code Break is a 2023 action adventure feature that stars Chelsea Gilson, Karl Chaffey and Bobby Britton. The film finds the FBI hot on the trail of a surfer named Cheyenne whose online antics have gotten her untold amounts of wealth. Desperate to nail the criminal, the federal agents let Cheyenne‘s father out of jail, hoping that this would lead to some sort of a breakthrough. What follows is a high stakes game of murder, mayhem and carnage as Cheyenne does everything to come out on top. 

Running at only 69 minutes, Code Break doesn’t waste any time to get going and hits the ground briskly running. We are quickly introduced to Chelsea Gilson’s Cheyenne and her secret that has prompted the FBI to launch a full scale investigation into her. Cheyenne is sneaky but even the most sneakiest cannot escape from the all watchful eyes of government agencies. Rather than spending precious time in backstories, Tipton keeps the audience on its toes. The story barrels forward and soon drama and twists begin unfolding, leading the main character down a rabbit hole of paranoia and self preservation. 

The script by Jeffrey Tipton has a little bit of everything. It would not have been easy to create an engaging, thoughtful film that is inspired from Point Break but does not feel like a copy of it. Tipton knows this and does his best to make Code Break into his own thing, one that can stand the test of time. He mostly succeeds and Code Break is a thoroughly enjoyable adventure that speaks to Tipton’s various talents as both a writer and director. 

While the conflict between Cheyenne and the FBI might be the driving force of the story, the real ill will is between Cheyenne and her father. Not only is her father her mentor, but he is also the reason that Cheyenne lost her mom. This complex and highly volatile relationship will be taken advantage of by the FBI, but Tipton is too smart for this. Making this complex relationship the bedrock of the story was a genius move on the part of Tipton. Not only does it add another dimension to the drama, it makes the characters deeper and pushes them to make hard choices in the service of the story. 

Comparisons of this film will undoubtedly be made with the 1993 blockbuster Point Break. Both films feature surfers engaged in fraud and like the 1993 film, this film is also populated with fantastic characters and a riveting central story. Not only will fans of that film find similar stuff here, they will immensely enjoy Code Break as well. There is something about the cool and calculated nature of surfers going up against the system; Code Break manages to capture this lightning in a bottle pretty well. 

In the acting department, everyone manages to do a fine job. Gilson is obviously magnetic; being the star and central character of this story, she needed to be both brash and likeable. Gilson not only manages to accomplish this flawlessly, her nuanced and emotive performance elevates the entire film. She is smart, sharp and always a step ahead of everybody else. Equally great are Karl Chaffey as Drew and Darryl Krieghoff as Bull. The cast does a wonderful job of bringing the story to life and each actor does his or her best to contribute to the story. While the FBI agents could have been a bit more aggressive, the actors portraying them do a good enough job regardless. 

For a film with a low budget, it is the director that makes all the difference. In such circumstances, directors have to get creative and strive to make a film that shrugs its constraints and comes off as more expensive than it really is. Director Jeffrey Tipton comes to the rescue here. Since he wrote the screenplay himself, Tipton understands the nuances of the script really well and is in the perfect position to make the film better in all respects. Choosing to develop deep characters in his pursuit of telling a character driven story, Tipton makes sure the themes and central idea of his story are not overshadowed by anything else. The result is a film that feels balanced, one that successfully navigates both its surfing and hacking aspects without going into campy territory. 

The most important technical aspect here is cinematography and Code Break manages to do pretty well in this regard. The surfing shots, particularly those underwater ones, are stunning. The raw energy of the ocean coupled with the unbridled chaos of waves is beautifully captured. The bluish teal with which each frame is brushed is important from a thematic perspective as well as makes the film look sleek. Both the action and drama are captured earnestly and what results is a film that knocks it out of the park in the visual department. 

To summarise, 2023’s Code Break is a well made, potent action adventure that will leave you impressed. An engrossing story, fascinating characters and a bunch of twists and turns make this film well worth checking out. Perfect for a slow Sunday evening, Code Break is a fitting film to watch with friends and family over some soda and BBQ. Jeffrey Tipton has created a highly entertaining film, one that works on multiple levels.


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