Board To Death Review by Vee Lugo
When is a board game just a board game? That question, among many others, is examined in fascinating detail in this short film from Broken Lens Productions. In just sixteen minutes, they weave a tangled web of lust, betrayal, revenge and deceit and then make you wonder how much of it was actually real.
The plot begins simply enough with a man and his wife playing Scrabble. He suspects that she's been unfaithful and his suspicions appear to be confirmed when the name of her lover appears on the board. He punishes this person, only to find that another name has appeared. And then another. And another. And all the while, his wife keeps a poker face, neither admitting nor denying being with any of them. How deep does the rabbit hole go? I'm not telling. You'll have to watch the film and find out for yourself.
From a visual standpoint, one is immediately reminded of Robert Rodriguez's Sin City and if we assume the similarity was deliberate, they pull the style off very, very well. Certain scenes also bring to mind such directors as Wes Craven and Alfred Hitchcock and this is done well too. The somewhat experimental score by Rika Muranaka fits the visuals perfectly and adds just the right amount of tension that makes the film as a whole very effective without seeming overdone.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the film is the ultimately unresolved question of whether the wife was ever unfaithful to begin with. Is she really a destroyer of men as the protagonist describes, or was he simply imagining it and seeing things that were never really there? And did she realize this and was just messing with him all along because it amused her? The film doesn't say and instead allows the viewer to draw their own conclusion.
I'll admit I don't watch many short films, but being that that's the case, this is one of the best shorts I've seen in quite a while and I imagine the team who made it will have a nice, long career in this business if they want it. I give it four and a half stars out of five and I look forward to seeing what they come up with next.