Gabriel (Walt Sloan) walks into a hotel. He looks familiar or, minimally, there's an air of familiarity about the entire situation.
Or maybe not.
He's calm. He's cool. He's collected. He's intentional, it would seem, about every word out of his mouth and every action that he takes. He could be a good guy. He could be a bad guy. He's something. That's for sure.
Gabriel gets settled in, but everything is still unsettled. He decides to call a call girl, because that's what you do. Or, because that's what he does. Faye (Erin Breen) shows up at his hotel room door, her presence unmistakeably ominous.
Or maybe not.
Written and directed by Eric Neal, Fate Accompli is one of 2012's more effectively suspenseful short films. Beautifully photographed by John Klein in a way that masterfully utilizes shadow and light, Fate Accompli weaves together atmosphere, character, dialogue and the unspoken in a way that leaves you glued to the screen as the story unfolds.
Fate Accompli gives hints of film noir splashed with ample doses of classic crime thriller and teenie weenie amounts of several other sub-genres sprinkled in for good measure.
You may notice. You may not. You'll probably be too engrossed in the story to give one iota about what genre is playing where. What you'll ultimately care about is that Neal has crafted a compelling story and brings it to life courtesy of a tremendously effective cast led by the rather remarkable duo of Walt Sloan and Erin Breen.
Sloan carries himself confidently yet without a lot of the faux macho bravado that so often accompanies this type of a character. Sloan's desire for a call girl, it would seem, isn't so much about a desire for human connection or even just plain being horny. It would seem that Sloan is, for better and worse, a rather methodical sort and this choice, among others, is simply part of the method.
Breen has the more expressive role here. She handles it impressively by emoting when she needs to emote and being stunningly disciplined when she needs to be stunningly disciplined. Somehow, she plays out Faye as both seemingly transparent yet remarkably guarded. It's a remarkable performance and you won't realize how remarkable it is until long after the closing credits when you can't stop thinking about her.
In addition to Klein's terrific camera work, Andrew Edwards serves up an original score that adds to the film's suspense and slowly rolling out drama. There's a tendency in this type of film to create a score that's ultra-dramatic, but Edwards avoids that tendency with a score that companions the film rather than trumps it.
Shot in Chicago, Fate Accompli is available on DVD with a wealth of special features including the obligatory commentary, a featurette on the original music, the trailer, a gag reel and a music only audio track. It's an abundance of extras that you don't often find added to a short film DVD release.
For more information, be sure to visit the film's Facebook page listed in the credits.