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Drama - Historic, Uncategorized

Pawn Sacrifice (2014)


Elevator Pitch

In 1972 American Boby Fischer meets Russian chess master Boris Spassky in Iceland to decide who is to be world chess champion. Fischer has proved himself to be a brilliant player, becoming American champion at the age of 14, but he suffers from paranoia, believing that his every move is being monitored by the FBI, at least in part due to the fact that his mother is a communist and has believed herself to be being secretly observed. As a result of his emotional problems will he get to the 1972 game, and actually complete it?


We see Bobby as a child and as a teenager being brilliant at chess, some of the time taking on multiple opponents, then he is encouraged by Paul Marshall, a celebrity lawyer to make his way to the world championships. The film suggests that there may be US government inviolvement, the little man from Brooklyn against the Russian state. We see Bobby being a bit mad, dismantling his hotel room, refusing to play for a variety of reasons and playing chess in his mind with his “trainer” Father Lombardy. There is a bit of talk about sex.

A View

I was interested to see how a film about chess could be made interesting, and there is no doubt that British screenwriter Steven Knight succeeds. It was well liked by the critics and by the general public who, we can assume, have watched it as a download since it absolutely bombed in the cinema making a couple of million dollars against a production cost of an estimated $19 million. I also liked it a lot, at least in part due to the soundtrack which uses period rock and roll to counterpoint the cerebral content of the presentation.

Duration 1h 55m Rating (UK) 12A
Source of story Following real events pretty closely.
Director Edward Zwick
Writers/Script Steven Knight (story by Stephen J. Rivele, Christopher Wilkinson, Steven Knight)
Starring Tobey Maguire, Live Schreiber, Michael Stuhlbarg, Peter Sarsgaard
Additional Info Chess enthusiasts have taken exception to aspects of the film in which the very ponderous action of a real chess championship game have been truncated – but come on guys  get a life – it’s a movie.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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