Film Review: Board to Death (2015)

Copyright: Broken Lens Production

A lot of cool sounding things come from Board to Death, a short indie neo-noir thriller made by a Broken Lens Production, a production company made up from young filmmakers. The film’s director Dammie Akinmola created a very simple thriller black and white piece about a crazed husband who is determined to kill all those who have disrespected his beautiful but very insidiously quiet wife.

With this film, Akinmola showed that he really can pack a tight frame and position the camera (and even its motion, which is always tricky for small productions) so it shows all the hallmarks of the noir genre.

At moments, the film seems like a raw version of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For before the CGI is plastered over the actors. Here, the film really shines as a mute piece about a dangerous man in bleak surroundings.

But, once the plot begins to unravel, Board to Death becomes more constrained and slightly less focused. With the use of heavy narration provided by the main character, the audience is drawn through the story like a child through a museum that was deemed too complicated for it. Here, Akinmola also decided that things should be both shown and told, which is not a great direction for a movie that drives towards a noir feel.

During his killings, the main character explains things both in person and to the audience, killing not only his victims, but also the noir atmosphere. The only thing which offers an alternative to this blatantly verbal approach is the board which is used by the wife to show the husband who he needs to kill. But, the board is also a Scrabble type of game, which results in even more words for the viewers.

Board to Death is a tight looking film, but which sounds as one that thought it should be even tighter. On the other hand, it needs to be said that the aim of Akinmola and Broken Lens Production was respectably high and most importantly, it shows skill and knowledge that can result in even better films to come.

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