Due to his anti-American and anti-Semitic statements, Bobby Fischer became a controversial figure in the final decades of his life. He, for example, in 1984 asked the editors of Encyclopedia Judaica to remove his name from the publication because he was, and has never been, Jewish and denied the Holocaust in several interviews. On a radio show shortly after the 9/11 attacks, he proclaimed them "a wonderful news". See more »
In game 2, which Fischer forfeited, Spassky is shown waiting around for an hour before the arbiter declared the forfeit. In reality, he quickly grew uncomfortable waiting, and left the room after five minutes (which is perfectly legal under the rules), leaving the audience watching two empty chairs for about 55 minutes until the arbiter declared the forfeit. See more »
Your humble reviewer was not present at the script meetings, but you cannot help but conclude that writer Steven Knight set out to do the near-impossible -- with a minimalist presentation, no CGI or special effects, not even slo-mo, make a chess movie that packed as much punch for the viewer as Ali-Foreman, or any other sports event you might name.
This wonderful film is like the bumblebee. On paper it should not fly. In real life, it soars.
This film works and works atreat. Maybe not the greatest biopic ever but darn close.
It helps that the topic is a man who even those of us who "remember the era" barely knew or understood.
Maguire gives the performance of his life. If you use a stopwatch you will be astonished at how much of his performance is merely facial expressions in close up. And it works.
The rest of the cast is solid as a rock. Schreiber leaves Ray Donovan so far behind you would think this is a different actor. Sarsgaard, one of the most empathetic actors in the game, is the glue that keeps the film together.
Mesmerizing from beginning to end. Exceeds expectations.
And here is a tip.
According to media legend, after the Spassky match, Fischer did a 7 minute comedy bit on Bob Hope where he not only showed perfect timing but more importantly showed none of the eccentricities on which this script was based. Watching this clip just after seeing this film (from one of the many "tube" sites - Google it) is an unexpected bonus for being a child of the digital age.
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