The first zero budget film from a new company of young filmmakers out of Luton, England, Board to Death is a clever and visually appealing neo-noir thriller directed by Dammie Akinmola based upon a story by Kazi Zaman. The story centers around a vengeful husband (Joshua Exposito) who suspects his wife (Victoria Ashford) of being unfaithful and has no choice but to act due to his pride. He hunts down those who have disrespected his wife and his marriage, all through a board game that eventually reveals the name of his targets.
First off, while I will openly confess that for the most part Board to Death simply didn't work for me, it would be nearly impossible to not admire the ambitious, disciplined work from the cast/crew comprising Broken Lens Productions. As a critic who regularly reviews short films and ultra-low budget cinema, I can assure you that it's not very often that I receive pretty much anything I could possibly ask for including such basics as an IMDB page, website, full credits, functional trailer, and even more.
Yet, the folks at Broken Lens clearly have their act together.
Board to Death is a promising film, nicely photographed by D.P. Kazi Zaman with the expected black-and-white lensing that is nicely blacklit and utilizes shadows quite effectively. While the film's editing is a tad more consistent with what one might expect from a zero-budget cinematic venture, that's a minor distraction that shouldn't detract from the film's likelihood of finding a home on the indie/underground fest circuit.
If there's a problem with the film, or at least an issue that hindered my appreciation of it, it's that the film's noirish dialogue feels less about the story and far more about the film's style. There were times I felt like I was sitting in the audience at a Rocky Horror show wanting to scream out "Say It!"
At a little bit shy of 17 minutes, Board to Death feels just about right in terms of length and Akinmola does a nice job of cleverly wrapping everything up by film's end. The film's ensemble cast is quite game for this ambitious and enjoyable first film from Broken Lens and I'll look forward to seeing where this young group of filmmakers goes in the future.