Monday, October 05, 2015

'Pawn Sacrifice' (2014/2015): Bobby Fischer vs. Boris Spassky

Edward M. Zwick's Pawn Sacrifice (2014/2015) delivers a dramatic rendering (with some comic touches) of the great but erratic chess player Bobby Fischer, culminating in his world championship match against Boris Spassky in 1972.

I love the cast of Pawn Sacrifice, which includes Tobey Maguire, Liev Schreiber, Peter Sarsgaard, Michael Stuhlbarg, Lily Rabe, Robin Weigert and Evelyne Brochu, among others. Overall, the movie is fun and interesting, definitely lighter fare -- and hokier -- than the documentaries Red Army and Best of Enemies -- although all three compliment each other within the Cold War Zeitgeist and all three are worth watching. 
In Pawn Sacrifice, Fischer (played by Tobey Maguire) is depicted as a person existentially located somewhere between an anti-social and paranoid "idiot savant," chess prodigy, and enfant terrible -- fittingly compared to Mozart (although Wagner might be even more fitting). Stuhlbarg and Sarsgaard, pictured here, play Fischer's handlers, the one an eager promoter-patriot and the other a worldly Catholic priest and chess coach. 
Liev Schreiber makes Boris Spassky seem a whole lot cooler and classier than Bobby Fischer, albeit tightly contained by his Soviet "management team" (which he resents, but begrudgingly understands). In 1972, both players are "pawns" of the Cold War. 

Today's Rune: Wholeness. 


jodi said...

Erik- I used to play chess reasonably, but it's been years. Dane was a whiz at it. will surely see this one. Those are three amazing actors!

Charles Gramlich said...

I think Spassky was the cooler character, although Fischer was such a master. I really want to see this.

the walking man said...

'72 the year I enlisted, the year all of America sat enthralled over a game most can not play with any skill because we were going to beat the Soviets at something just not Vietnam.