Steve Zaillian directs Max Pomeranc, Joe Mantegna and Ben Kingsley in this child chess prodigy true story.
Also with Joan Allen and Laurence Fishburne. The sorta release that screams quality now but got lost in the shuffle back then. It possibly needed to be a little bolder in its storytelling choices to make an impact. This feels very much like an exercise in formula screenwriting – with characters existing in shifting opposition to each other until all the luvvies have shared a confrontation with every other piece on the board. That’s no bad thing – I’m pretty sure Ben & Matt stole a lot of the form and stakes from this when crafting their Good Will Hunting screenplay. There are definite strands of shared DNA between the two films. This remains a satisfying curio but it is a building block to the later classic of emotionally intelligent cinema about unlikely geniuses and those who shepherd them to greatness. And yet it isn’t even the best chess film of its decade. That title goes to Fresh… a forgotten 90s movie well worth seeking out.
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