The Code Red
SUMMARY + ABOUT
“Military lawyer Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee defends Marines accused of murder. They contend they were acting under orders.” – IMDb.
The protagonists of A Few Good Men are Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore, and Kevin Bacon. By just mentioning these actors, you can imagine what type of movie and acting you’re going to find, so don’t think that just because it’s “antique”, you’re going to see something terrible and unworthy for your eyes.
The movie’s script was written by Aaron Sorkin and the film was directed by Rob Reiner. And MR. SORKIN is like a Demi-God in Screenwriting. Really. Just google him, and you’ll see!
A Few Good Men was nominated for the Oscars and the Golden Globes, but sadly, it didn’t win either one of the awards shows. However, it was nominated for 30 awards, and that is a great accomplishment.
- Academy Awards, Best Picture.
- Academy Awards, Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Jack Nicholson).
- Academy Awards, Best Sound.
- Academy Awards, Best Film Editing.
- Golden Globes, Best Motion Picture—Drama.
- Golden Globes, Best Director—Rob Reiner.
- Golden Globes, Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture Drama (Tom Cruise).
- Golden Globes, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Jack Nicholson).
- Golden Globes, Best Screenplay - Motion Picture.
Wow. Wow. Wow—I’m still in shock from watching the movie and let me tell you all something: it’s so well-written and acted, it looked amazing.
I cannot believe this movie has more than 25 years out in the wilderness (I mean, the world), and it still looks a day old.
This movie starts when two marines are ordered to deliver a code red to another marine, one who isn’t good enough to be there. His name is William “Willy” Santiago—a lazy person who falls behind 5 mile runs and did everything wrong.
Santiago had asked millions of persons for a transfer, but they didn’t, under any circumstances, comply to answer or looked at the letters he sent.
One day, Santiago supposedly gets the news that he, will be transferred. I said “supposedly” because, he wasn’t going to be transferred off the base.
He was supposedly so excited, he forgot to tell his parents. Not one friend. Not a single bag of clothes was packed.
So, Dawson and Downey went to Willy Santiago’s room with a rag and tape. A few seconds later, Santiago saw them, and was immediately frightened.
What happens next is absolutely terrible. Horrendous. Immensely tragic.
Since Dawson and Downey were ordered to give the lazy marine a code red, they did so. They were ordered to bring a rag and tape with them, so they could keep Santiago in his place.
When one of the two marines placed the rag on William’s mouth, it started bleeding a few seconds later.
Dawson and Downey looked at each other in panic—and what happens next isn’t described or appears in the movie.
What we know though, it’s that Santiago was dead, at approximately one or two of the morning.
The movie then centers into a woman, called JoAnne Galloway. She’s going to a meeting to talk about the case—the case that Dawson and Downey are part of.
According to the details, they murdered their fellow marine. What the court or the government didn’t know was that they did what they were told to do, and that if they disobeyed an order, it was bye-bye for them.
JoAnne was a professional lawyer, so she expected to control the case; however, the board decided that a more unexperienced lawyer could manage the case.
His name was Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee, and he was the laziest officer to ever set foot on the marine.
I mean, he just graduated from Harvard—and he’s playing baseball with other lazy officers?
Anyways, another officer gets to the baseball court and tells him that the board wanted to see him.
So, he goes to the building and gets told that he’s going to be working with Lieutenant Commander JoAnne Galloway.
I was normally watching the movie when then it hit me—JoAnne actually has a higher rank than Kaffee… then why did he get the case?
And so, I paused the movie, and decided to reflect the thoughts by eating lunch.
Then, I put it on again.
I then thought, “Well, if he’s lazy the board probably wanted him to manage a case, so he could become more experienced and less lazy.”
And then I found out that was it.
They wanted Kaffee to have experience. To manage something that he actually couldn’t manage—to solve something extremely difficult.
Then, Kaffee gets sent to JoAnne’s office with one of his pals (who, thank gosh, isn’t lazy), called Sam.
Sam is married, has a daughter, is responsible, and is basically there to keep Kaffee on his place.
Because Kaffee is irresponsible, and always tries to negotiate so his “clients” get home as soon as possible.
But he doesn’t prove that they are innocent, and that is actually unacceptable if you are a Harvard graduate and your father was a famous lawyer that did fantastic things for the navy—erm, clients.
So, when JoAnne meets him, she was like, “You’re the lawyer whom I’m meant to work with and prove our clients’ innocence?”
And Kaffee literally just nodded.
He, under any circumstances, has ever proven someone’s innocence in the history of being a lawyer or officer of the United States Navy.
So, when JoAnne starts to work with him, he usually ignores her and does the things he wants to do.
Like, watching baseball and playing with his other friends—the lazy officers.
One day, they’re called to Cuba, to see Santiago’s room and talk with the main officers there, Colonel Nathan R. Jessep, Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Andrew Markinson, and 2nd Lieutenant Jonathan Kendrick.
When Kaffee introduces himself, Jessep asks him to call him “Nathan”, like they were old friends.
That’s clearly a sign that Jessep wants to keep Kaffee on his good side.
What he doesn’t know, however, is that Jessep just wants him to think he didn’t play any part of this.
The movie then develops, and Kaffee with it, too.
He becomes more centered to prove his client’s innocence, but before that he tried to negotiate like he always did.
What he did, was that he asked his friend, called Captain Ross and asked him if his clients could be home in 6 months—Ross said yes, but they would have to stop being part of the Marine Corps.
After that, JoAnne convinces him to take the case to the court—where Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Andrew Markinson shows up on his car and tells him that Jessep wasn’t planning on transferring Santiago off the base, and that there was a flight earlier on the day.
Markinson also told him that the transfer order he signed was “fake”, and that he had done so five days after Santiago died.
So, Kaffee decides to get him to a motel with security, and almost a few days later Markinson decides to kill himself.
After that, Kaffee invites Jessep to come to the case’s final session. And when he does, he asks him silly questions—making Jessep really annoyed.
At almost the end of the case, Kaffee orders Jessep to tell him the truth; if he ordered the code red.
And at the end, it was Jessep.
He ordered the bloody code red.
The BLOODY CODE RED!
Now, let’s talk about the two scenes I chose from this movie…
The first one is when Kaffee forces Jessep to tell him the bloody truth (when Jessep shouts that he did order the code red and silence was heard throughout the whole courtroom). I chose this scene because I think Jack Nicholson’s acting was absolutely outstanding, and the whole “You want me on that wall, you need me on that wall thing” improvisation was perfect for it. Just—wow. You can read it using the link right here:
The second scene is when Jessep is arrested, and that’s a really funny scene and I consider it was one of the best-acted ones too. Just read it, and you’ll laugh out loud or pee your pants because the way Jessep talks, makes other people want to hide in a hole and never come back. You can read it right here:
Overall, I give this great script a 9/10. Why? The script itself is wonderful, yet it lacked description. I read it before I saw the movie, and I still notice many details the script didn’t have, while the movie did.
I love this movie, and its script, because it shows that you need to be involved by truth’s side and win, if you do it honestly and with hard work. I think Tom Cruise acted well, but with a movie that Jack Nicholson stars in, it’s impossible to not be left in the dark.
At the end, I found myself reflecting over why they chose Kaffee to manage the case. And then it hit me.
They wanted to prove that his father was a better lawyer than him.
And at the end, they were wrong.
Have any of you ever watched a movie with such an intense script? I have, because this is my first time doing so haha. I hope you enjoy the script and this post, and don’t be shy to comment your thoughts about it!
Here are the official trailer and a Rob Reiner interview!
Any pictures/gifs do not belong to me, otherwise stated.
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