At times, my mind would just shut down and allow me to see old Spidey fighting the soviets in elaborate chess-fight montages, most of which are surprisingly well made so that even people who don't play chess can enjoy them. The californian prostitute is one of those characters that heartily scream "artistic license!" and betray a sort of by-the-numbers storytelling that is amusing nonetheless.
I'm still searching for Bobby Fischer. The writing is the real failure here; as undynamic of a script as they come, with little respect for the drama in its subject or the nature of the game. Would have liked to have been there for the shooting of the beach confrontation scene - laughable. Stuhlbarg was solid, the others seem to be near breaking at several points. "I'm the most famous person in the world."
The fine line between genius and madness is highlighted by the ubiquitous Bobby Fischer. Fischer's monomaniacal specialism in chess inevitably has a regressive effect regarding inter- and intra-personal experience. Paranoia escalates, transposing tactics of chess onto the political terrain, with wonky interpretations. Maguire and Schrieber are admirable but Zwick's mawkish direction undermines the tale. 2.5
What happened here? Was it Ed Zwick's limp directorial style or Steven Knight's basic biopic script? Or wait! May be it's Bradford Young's show-offy lighting? An over-the-top Michael Stuhlbarg? One thing's clear: this boring "sports drama" brandishes its microscopic review of the Jew-hating chess genius Bobby Fischer and Cold War politics as verisimilitude. Only Tobey Maguire and Liev Schreiber can escape ridicule.
There was a potentially good film here, but one that requires careful handling of it's subject matter. Sadly, the filmmakers don't give us much reason to sympathize with Fischer, nor do they analyze his psyche deep enough for us to empathize with him either. Thus, it's hard to be invested in the historic chess battle that climaxes the film. Zwick, you broke my heart yet again.
The excessive use of montages gets annoying, especially when we see how gripping Edward Zwick proves he can direct chess in a gripping manner. Other than that, the film does a good job at being observant and detailed inot Fischer's detiriorating mental state, right down to the intricacies of what made him tick. And then there's Maguire, who does a great job at being investing despite given suh a narrow character.
Horrible and expected Hollywood trivialization of a troubled chess genius. A continual cliche full of ever mounting drama and a continual series of tired montages. Intellectually it's devoid of anything interesting involving chess with it being presented as just another game in the broader Cold War contest between the cold and brash Soviet against the troubled but brilliant American. Even worse than I expected.