7.5/10
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38 user 73 critic

The Dark Horse (2014)

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A brilliant but troubled New Zealand chess champion finds purpose by teaching underprivileged children about the rules of chess and life.
24 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Cliff Curtis ... Genesis
James Rolleston ... Mana
Kirk Torrance Kirk Torrance ... Noble
Miriama McDowell ... Sandy
Barry Te Hira Barry Te Hira ... Mutt
Xavier Horan ... Jedi
Wayne Hapi ... Ariki
Lyel Timu Lyel Timu ... Rangimarie
Te Ahorangi Retimana-Martin ... Rusty
Calae Hignett-Morgan Calae Hignett-Morgan ... Piripi
James Napier Robertson ... Dave
Te Rua Rehu-Martin Te Rua Rehu-Martin ... Murray
Niwa Whatuira Niwa Whatuira ... Michael
Lionel Wellington Lionel Wellington ... Rip
Wesley Broadfoot Wesley Broadfoot ... Nathan
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Storyline

A brilliant but troubled New Zealand chess champion finds purpose by teaching underprivileged children about the rules of chess and life.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Bravery is contagious See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language throughout, and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | official site

Country:

New Zealand

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 July 2014 (New Zealand) See more »

Also Known As:

Genesis See more »

Filming Locations:

New Zealand See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

NZD 3,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,487, 3 April 2016, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$61,505, 1 May 2016

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,170,000, 30 May 2018
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Actor Wayne Hapi who played "Ariki" had no previous acting experience before his debut in 'The Dark Horse', however as an ex gang-member he did have direct experience with the film's content. Wayne applied for an audition via email after Casting Director Yvette Reid placed a job listing at WINZ "seeking Maori Men aged 50-65yrs, tattoos and criminal records welcome!". Wayne was honoured with a nomination for Best Supporting Actor at the 2014 New Zealand Film awards. See more »

Goofs

In a chess lesson, Genesis identifies the square c4 as "the Spanish square" and b5 as "the Italian square." These are the squares to which white moves the king's bishop on the third move of the Giuoco Piano, or Italian Game, and the Ruy Lopez, or Spanish Game, respectively; he's got them backward. See more »

Quotes

Genesis: I don't wanna take him from you. I just wanna give him a chance to see something out there in the world.
Ariki: There ain't nothing out there for him! World don't want him. Didn't want me and sure as fuck didn't want you, did it? He lives in my world. The real fuckin world. Remember my hand on your shoulder, do you? Telling you things'll be alright? Well nobody hand their fuckin hand on mine bro. No-one told me shit'd be alright. I been all alone with nothing. But I stayed standing. While you fell all...
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Talking Dead: Fear the Walking Dead (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A stunning, beautiful triumph of New Zealand film
4 August 2014 | by Lindsay ThompsonSee all my reviews

I had the chance to see this film on the opening night of the 2014 New Zealand International Film Festival. The advance reviews from critics had been so unanimously high that I went in with pretty strong expectations, which can easily backfire when a film is unable to live up to the hype. I really thought that might be the case with this.

But, literally, from the first frame of this incredible film (which silenced everyone around me, it's such a stunning opening shot), I forgot all of that, and became completely utterly wonderfully immersed in the story and performances and everything that unraveled before my eyes over the next two hours.

The way that this film deals with chess, Maori mythology, mental illness, gangs, kids... and weaves them all together, is just so compelling. The way that it moves from tragedy to comedy, without it ever feeling forced... the performances from people that apparently have never acted before in their lives... It's really hard to believe and so impressive.

The reaction around me was also hard to believe. Throughout the film, people all over the theatre (myself included) were literally laughing, crying, applauding, gasping, cheering, weeping... And then at the end after the ENTIRE credits had rolled without anyone moving, there was a standing ovation from the ENTIRE audience - almost 2,500 people! Incredible. I haven't been part of something quite like that before.

The emotion of this film is so powerful, the craft on display is so strong, the directing, writing, acting, music, cinematography. Just sublime. I really was floored.

The person I attended with told me after wards they thought this could be the greatest NZ film they've ever seen. I recently heard the National Radio Review say a similar thing when they were reviewing it.

I would have to agree.

Simply stunning. 10/10.


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