A visually impressive short about a boxer who cannot tear down his protective emotional walls..
This short’s premise is concerned with themes of chance and fate as a Boxer (Dan Liebman) discovers one night after the latest in a long run of bad losses. He has built up a mental wall around himself and cannot let anyone in, not his manager, his team or even his pregnant partner. However things need to change and fast, he is no longer on the top of his game and his next match could very well be his last. That’s when he stumbles upon a cleaner who might just manage to get through to him when so many have failed before.
I like the concept here for the short, in theory its a good way of boiling down a story to fit the form whilst also keeping it rooted in the very familiar sub-genre of boxing movies and their tropes. Thankfully in practice it largely succeeds at condensing its story; it feels self-contained and the journey our Boxer goes along is small enough to handle but meaningful enough for it to have real impact. Perhaps the focus is still just a little wide but by and large this succeeds as a engaging narrative. On the flip sidee some of the characters are thinly drawn which is a shame, and some of the dialogue could have done with a brush up too. One gets the feeling that if some of these characters had been condensed, so there were fewer characters and those which remained had taken on the others’ characteristics and dialogue, then we could have had a richer and more nuanced short here.
Visually the short is very impressive. There is an intimacy established here through the camera’s style and placement which aids the film no end. Top marks to Chris Esper for giving the piece both a genuinely interesting and compelling look whilst also providing the professional gloss which helps hold the whole piece together. There’s a lot to like here, and not just the camera work. It’s a properly paced narrative and ambitiously reaches high within the short film form for an emotionally satisfying story. It doesn’t quite reach its goal but full marks for a solid effort. It’ll be interesting to see what comes from those involved should they produce work together again.