The titular 8.31 refers to the time it takes for light to reach the Earth from the sun (8 minutes and 31 seconds). In the case of this short film, the sun is dying, and due to lose its light on the same day a couple finds themselves dealing with the arrival of their first child. As the couple races to the hospital, anarchy reigns all around and the question becomes one of individual survival and defiance in the face of solar, and shortly thereafter planetary, death.
The look of this film is across-the-board gorgeous. From the composition to the depth of field to the digital effects employed here and there to give us a futuristic vision of a world on the edge of death, I can’t praise this film enough. In that way, it feels like one of those “calling card” short films you hear about from time to time; the skill on display in this short should lead to more projects, because Noah Harald and crew obviously know what they’re doing.
The only thing holding this back from a 5-star review is the acting, which I found a little hard to swallow much of the time. For some reason, a dying sun and society going to Hell via visual effects was easier to stomach than most of the lines delivered in the film. And honestly, this could almost be a silent film, after the basic scenario is presented. A couple that goes through with the birth of a child when they know the sun is dying is, in itself, a loud statement to make, whether or not anyone comes right out and says as much. For me, I wish it had let the actions carry the day even more so than it did.
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