CHANNEL 4 4SEVEN E4 MORE4 FILM4 4MUSIC 4oD

Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 15
  • Drama
  • 2003
  • 94 mins

Emotional Backgammon

Emotional Backgammon

Synopsis

Guys and girls go to war in this twisty and cynical battle of the sexes from black British writer-director-actor Leon Herbert

About

Four years hard graft brought black filmmaker and actor Leon Herbert's film to a British cinema scene otherwise dominated by whites. But this worthy hype can't disguise that, on viewing, Emotional Backgammon falters towards a ludicrous ending.

Sparring between boyfriends and girlfriends isn't a new subject, but Herbert's cast and funky London setting make his battle of the sexes start out enjoyably. However, as it examines the way we become jaded by insecurities and bad relationships, the film descends into unimaginative stereotypes: men playing it cool, women playing at seduction.

Cynical as the subject matter is, it's hard not to notice most of the venom is directed towards the women ("bitches"). And when it takes an unbelievable twist towards the end, it's hard to believe the film ever had a grip on realistic people or, for that matter, emotions.

Early on, Herbert hit on the way in which people's advice is coloured by their own experiences and bitterness, dispatching tips as a way of absolving themselves while selfishly controlling the actions of others. It's a shame that this thoughtful aspect is undermined by apparent misogyny and the need to place shock value in the film's conclusion.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Daniela Lavender, Jacqueline De Peza, Will Johnson, Leon Herbert, Bob Mercer
  • Director: Leon Herbert
  • Screen Writer: Leon Herbert, Matthew Hope
  • Producer: Matthew Hope
  • Photographer: Koutaiba Aljanabi
  • Composer: Chris Nicolaides, Paul Foss

In a nutshell

What starts out like a British Two Can Play At That Game ends up an unbelievable psychodrama. While it's a relief to see that black British filmmakers actually exist, and Herbert's dedication is admirable, Emotional Backgammon won't be the film to put them on the map.

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4

    The Kingdom Of Dreams And Madness

    Director Mami Sunada spends a year behind-the-scenes at Studio Ghibli as the animation powerhouse finishes two prestige productions

  • Film4

    Hahaha

    Comedy-drama from South Korean director Hong Sang-soo. Two friends, one a film director and the other a critic, discover their lives overlap more than they thought

    On Film4: 7 Nov 1:00AM

  • Film4

    Hong Sang-Soo Season

    A series of films unreleased in the UK from acclaimed and prolific South Korean director Hong Sang-Soo

  • Film4

    Tower Heist on Film4

    Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy & Casey Affleck lead an all-star cast in Brett Ratner's heist comedy

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Joe Cunningham's 11 recommendations for LFF 14

    Unfortunately I haven¿t been jet setting around the world this year to the various exciting international film festivals, but that¿s what makes the London Film Festival¿s compilation approach to progr

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Michael Leader's 11 recommendations for LFF 2014

    One of the best things about the London Film Festival¿s smorgasbord approach to programming is that, amongst the world premieres and gala screenings, there¿s an eclectic collection of exciting films o

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Share