Bobby Fischer Against The World

"Excellent"

Bobby Fischer Against The World Review


Strikingly well-assembled, this straightforward doc chronicles the chess champ's life using first-hand reminiscences and a wealth of historical footage.

It's surprising, involving and ultimately very moving.

Fischer emerged as a 9-year-old chess prodigy. By 15 he was the 1958 US champion, and he soon set his sights on the world champion Russian players. At the height of the Cold War in 1972, both countries had their reputations staked on the showdown between Fisher and Boris Spassky in Reykjavik. After Fischer's paranoid, diva-like behaviour almost derailed the match, he emerged the victor.

And then he disappeared, failing to defend his title. Years later, he emerged for a controversial rematch with Spassky in 1992 Yugoslavia, resulting in his exile from America.

The film frequently refers to but only briefly outlines Fischer's childhood, including his relationship with his iconic communist-friendly mother. Instead, the main focus is on Fischer's mental state as he obsesses about chess, which centres on being paranoid about the opponent's potential moves. But Fischer clearly takes this paranoia into his personal life. He was unable to make a decision or trust any officials, and in later years he isolated himself from everyone, bitter about government conspiracies he saw on all sides.

All of this is covered with a razor-sharp attention to detail, covering each increasingly eerie turn of events from a variety of perspectives as interviewees recount the story and extensive video footage shows us how it happened. Most interesting are the archival interviews with Fischer himself, from age 9 right up to his 2008 death at age 64. All of this is skilfully edited in a style that feels intriguingly seamless, even as it travels through Fischer's ups and downs.

Yes, the film focuses a bit intensely on Fischer's dark side, but it also vividly portrays his genius. And we also see that the people who knew him really cared about him, against all odds. So watching him succumb to his inner demons is genuinely painful: this is the greatest chess player who ever lived reduced to a lonely, angry man. And yet the filmmakers find dignity even here, which is no mean feat.



Bobby Fischer Against The World

Facts and Figures

Run time: 93 mins

In Theaters: Monday 6th June 2011

Distributed by: Music Box Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Fresh: 39 Rotten: 6

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Stanley F. Buchthal, , Matthew Justus,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.