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Shoot-Out (2005)

DVD Cover (Dream Regime)
Genres: Action, Basketball, Drama, Sports Drama
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Director:
David Branin David Branin
Starring:
Tyshawn Bryant Tyshawn Bryant
Daniel Sol Daniel Sol

6.2 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Tristan
Added: October 17, 2007
Ah, the short film. Perfect for those of us with ADD, or people who just aren't up for a 2 hour film. I was blessed with the former, so a 15 minute short is right up my alley. Normally I frown upon re-reviews, especially when they are so similar. But rules are rules, and besides, this was a damned good film.

House Washington (Tyshawn Bryant) is a basketball hustler. Word is, he's never lost a game for money. Enter J.C. (Daniel Sol). He's rich, has a beautiful house, and a nice car. With no hesitation, he lays it on the line for House. If he loses, he'll give up his house, car and whopping $200,000+ bank account. But if he wins, he gets House's life. This isn't to say he'll start talking street and hustle people out of their hard earned cash. It doesn't matter if you've won every game you've ever played, betting your life is probably the last thing on your mind. House is hesitant at first, but after J.C. gets going with a little smack talk, the game begins.

I am the furthest thing from "the streets", but as far as I'm concerned, Tyshawn Bryant's street/hustler talk seemed to be pretty realistic. Maybe people talk like that, maybe they don't. What matters is it didn't seem forced, and sounded very natural. Daniel Sol on the other hand, had a few problems. His acting was decent, but when it came time for him to be the aggressive one, and talk tough, it sounded pretty gosh darn awful. Probably because it's exactly what it would sound like if I had to talk like that.

After reading Chad's review for this film, I was very intrigued and made up my mind I had to see it. I'm not huge on sports films, but this isn't a sports film, when it boils right down to it. Sure, it's about a 1-on-1 basketball game with everything at stake. But as far as the story goes, it could have been golf, pool or Go Fish. A lot isn't explained in this film, but how could it be? Clocking in at just over 15 minutes, and 2-3 of those being credits, doesn't give a lot of time for a thorough back story. But really, it wasn't necessary. You knew enough about the characters in the first 30 seconds to get you hooked into the film. I was immediately sucked in to this one because it surprisingly intense. The entire time I was literally checking the clock to see how much time was left before I got to know just what the hell was going to happen to these men. Who would win? What would happen after he won? David Branin did a fantastic job of creating enough suspense to get you invested in the characters. With a nice, thought provoking ending to boot, this is of the better films I've seen in a while.

I don't know anything about a DVD release, but I'm sure it'll get there someday. At the very least, a collection of Branin's short films will work their way out into the market, especially if they're all of this calibre. It's actually pretty amazing the kind of story you can tell in 15 minutes. It takes a pretty skilled writer/director to work a story out into a very short film, and David Branin is one of those writers.

8/10
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Review by Chad
Added: October 06, 2005
This fifteen minute short centers around a high-stakes basketball game played between hustler House Washington (Tyshawn Bryant) and a man named J.C. (Daniel Sol). House makes his living "hustling fools" out of their money in these games of one-on-one, but when J.C. approaches him about a game where everything will be on the line, Washington is understandably nervous. You see, the proposed stakes are as follows: if Washington wins, he gets J.C.'s house, his car, and his bank account consisting of two-hundred thousand dollars. However, if J.C. wins the game, he takes Washington's life. Even though Washington has never lost a game on this court, betting his life in a game of basketball doesn't seem to be too high on his priority list... but after some goading and taunting by J.C., the game is on.

When director David Branin contacted me about reviewing this movie, I wasn't quite sure what to expect from it. On the one hand, the movie has an interesting premise and it did a good job of intriguing me... enough so that I asked him to send me a copy. However, I'm not really a fan of sports movies of any type, so I was well-prepared to be let down by this offering. It turns out that the movie well surpassed my expectations, thanks to the fact that the sports element of the movie is only a minor thing. Sure, the entire plot of the movie revolves around this one game of basketball, but the real story here is in the details... why does J.C. want to play this extremely high-stakes game, does House even know him, and what will happen once one of them finally wins? These questions are the real focus of the movie, not the game itself. With that in mind, the storyline aspect of this movie works out quite nicely. One truly wants to find out just what in the hell will happen as things play out, and even though the entire movie runs for only fifteen minutes, I couldn't wait to see what would happen once the game was over.

I particularly enjoyed the acting performance from Tyshawn Bryant; while his co-star Daniel Sol was nothing to complain about, Tyshawn completely stole the show with his performance here. He does an excellent job of playing the street-smart, ghetto-thug character without coming off as a mockery or trying too hard to fit the role. He actually seems like he's merely playing himself for the movie with no scripts or lines, and that's the kind of realism that really makes a movie work. I'm not going to go too much into Sol's performance here... as I mentioned, his performance was nothing to complain about, but it wasn't anything that requires a lot of praise either. He filled the role and played the part with some level of realism, but that's honestly about it.

If you're interested in short films and enjoy a movie that will make you think (especially that ending), give this one a shot when it hits DVD. According to the official site / blog (see the link up above), they are currently working on a special edition DVD which will feature both the original black-and-white version (which is what I watched for this review) as well as a color version. Keep an eye out for details regarding this release, as it'll certainly make a good purchase for fans of quality, intelligent shorts. 7/10.
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