thu 03/12/2020

DVD: Death of a Gentleman | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: Death of a Gentleman

DVD: Death of a Gentleman

The documentary that looked behind Test cricket's decline and found a global conspiracy

Long shadows on county cricket grounds: new cricket energy comes at a cost

Death of a Gentleman begins as a hymn to Test cricket, and becomes an elegy, as its makers cross the globe in a deceptively haphazard-looking pursuit of the men who run the game. Jarrod Kimber and Sam Collins are two journalists in search of a story. That the plot is not a murder mystery (who killed cricket?) but a jellyfish – Who’s running cricket? What do they want? Is anyone not in the pocket of an Indian concrete company? – becomes the story itself.

Death of a Gentleman begins as a hymn to Test cricket, and becomes an elegy, as its makers cross the globe in a deceptively haphazard-looking pursuit of the men who run the game. Jarrod Kimber and Sam Collins are two journalists in search of a story. That the plot is not a murder mystery (who killed cricket?) but a jellyfish – Who’s running cricket? What do they want? Is anyone not in the pocket of an Indian concrete company? – becomes the story itself.

Tightly cut from around 50 talking heads, it’s a film that shouldn’t work. There is no silver bullet. Cricket-lovers have watched the news for themselves. It’s unlikely anyone else will care, except perhaps to shake their heads at the folly of paying in money and endless reserves of emotional capital to follow (instead of playing) a sport which is now run by rich men in order to make themselves richer.

Stumps will be drawn on a result that has settled nothing

That the film does work testifies to the truth of the observation that "Cricket isn’t about winner takes all". This is one of many juicy soundbites that look banal on paper but gain force from the authority of their source – in this case, the BBC’s cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew. He and other journalists are peripheral figures. When Kimber and Collins catch up with the administrators they receive professionally emollient answers – except from Giles Clarke, now President of the England and Wales Cricket Board. He may still rue the day he affably announced to camera that "I have every right to put my board’s interest first" – before, that is, allowing fortunes to be pumped into developing cricket globally by making it an Olympic sport. D’oh.

The facepalm moments tot up in Death of a Gentleman, like the 20 wickets generally needed to win a Test. From about halfway through it becomes obvious that all 20 won’t be taken, and stumps will be drawn on a result that has settled nothing. True cricket lovers will likely enjoy it all the more.

@PeterQuantrill

The facepalm moments tot up like the 20 wickets generally needed to win a Test

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4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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