Academy Award-winning producer and director Edward Zwick was brought in to helm the film by producers Gail Katz and Tobey Maguire. Katz said: "A lot of top directors were interested. We knew Ed had a history of doing historical pictures with great accuracy that were also very commercial. He knows how to make a truthful and compelling film." See more »
While in real life the Soviet delegation did ask for Spassky's chair to be examined for electronic devices, that did NOT happen during a game. In the film, Spassky overturned the chair himself to examine it while the game was going on. Such clownish behavior would have caused an uproar from the audience - not to mention broken numerous match rules (disturbing his opponent, etc.) See more »
The intersection of celebrity, politics, mental illness, and chess
When I was a kid, Bobby Fischer was a big deal. He was a brilliant chess player known for his eccentricities. And I was perplexed as to how chess had become a big deal.
Turns out it was another cold war proxy fight in which the U.S. and Russia were trying to prove their inherent superiority. This was not Bobby Fischer's idea; he just wanted to be a chess champ. In the movie, he's fairly oblivious to the tides of history, at least until he gets caught up in paranoid theories.
This is a very interesting movie with a terrific performance by Tobey Maguire that manages to make chess riveting even if, like me, you have to real idea what's going on. The story it tells is clear and concise, as a mercurial Fischer descends into paranoia while those around him push him forward at any cost.
In fact, the story is a little too neat. The movie feels very much like the movie you'd expect to see if you remember Bobby's weird demands and celebrity. But usually life is a little more complicated than a movie. Reading about Fischer on wikipedia, I saw things that didn't fit in with the movie's view. For example, Fischer was unusually athletic for a chess player, working out regularly during the World Championship, and his love life went beyond hooking up with a prostitute; he later married, which is hard to imagine of Maguire's version.
Still, this is a fascinating, well paced movie that is constantly engaging. This is one of these movies, like All the President's Men, that has figured out how to bring intense drama to hard work and tedious thoroughness.
It also makes me wish I'd actually read some of those chess books my dad bought me; I always just sort of stumbled through without ever understanding the complexities of the game.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?