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

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 Babadook

    The Babadook

    Widowed mum Amelia (Essie Davis) finds caring for her wayward child Samuel (Noah Wiseman) a tall order. But shes more or less coping until a scary picture book about the mysterious Babadook starts to haunt this single parent family

  • Film4 This Is Where I Leave You

    This Is Where I Leave You

    Shortly after discovering his wifes infidelity, Judd (Jason Bateman) learns of the death of his father. Forced to return to his childhood home to spend a week with his mother, four siblings and his extended family, Judd tries to take stock of his life.

  • Film4 Killer Joe

    Killer Joe on Film4

    Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch and Juno Temple star in William Friedkin's noir thriller on Film4

  • Film4 The Angels Share

    The Angels' Share on Film4

    After avoiding jail Robbie turns over a new leaf and finds the inspiration to change his life in a whisky distillery on Film4

  • 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