Directed by: Gabriele Fabbro
Written by: #GabrieleFabbro
Shooting pool hasn't been this intense since The Hustler. Gabriele Fabbro's short film 8 is a stylish and thrilling tale of a pool player hoping to find redemption, loaded with brilliant camera trickery and an engulfing atmosphere.
Esteban de la Isla plays Jack, a self-proclaimed cheater at pool who hustles (and wins) at a small pool hall. However, his winning streak comes to a crashing end when Jessie (Jordan Knapp) kicks his ass and doesn't bother to take his name. In order for Jack to establish himself again within the pool hall, he must learn how to play the game without cheating.
Chalking this one up to great style and flair would undermine the wonderful storytelling on display, however, the aesthetics of 8 as a #shortfilm cannot be undersold. Fabbro keeps a tight grip on all the elements of his movie, whilst allowing the piece to still feel fluid and light. Comedy is injected through small glances and subtle physical performance rather than any guffaws in the dialogue, and the use of gothic orchestral music leant an ethereal edge to the proceedings.
De la Isla is a phenomenal lead in 8. From his cocky arrogance at the beginning of the story to his Rocky-esque montage of training to the final sections, the performer does justice to this anti-hero character. Knapp is incredible on screen too, especially given the limited amount of lines she has to say. Her portrayal of the scarred yet terrifically talented pool player was simply riveting to behold.
The short taps into pool and sports movies of past decades but also has a formidable influence from Westerns. The quest for redemption is a classic theme from the genre and Jack's character arc in 8 is familiar yet still compelling. The movie plays with topics such as misogyny and fairness whilst not getting bogged down in those heavy themes. Instead they are racked up to be fun, such as Jack placing his groin painfully close to a pocket before Jessie slams a ball in his direction.
Some of the #cinematography was remarkably manoeuvred. The camera seemed to be the only thing that could keep up with the flying balls and trick shots, and these were spliced together with impressive quickfire editing. The short film is an example of how stellar a movie can be when all of the aspects are so accurately delivered. There is no messy wastage in this piece, all of the #filmmaking is pushed with a well-chaulked cue.
Watch the official movie trailer for short film 8 below.