Who knew good old Spidey could actually play a guy who is too obsessed with chess that even he himself looks psychotic as hell? Not to mention a mean chess player as well. The plot however… Could have been more engaging.
Bobby Fischer (Tobey Maguire) is probably one of the best chess players the world has ever seen. This movie is all about his life and his journey towards the inevitable clash that he has with Boris Spassky (Liev Schriber). It also plays a lot on Fischer’s mentally deteriorating state through the movie that you really are asking if you want to root for this guy or not.
Above all, this is truly Tobey Maguire’s show. He is way too convincing as Fischer and it becomes apparent when you get to the end of the movie. Every part of Tobey feels genuine enough to be a psychotic yet masterful chess player conflicted with lies that are spread to him which further accelerates his paranoia with the world. I feel sorry for the actual Fischer because not only is he capable of seeing what others can’t, but the cost that he has to pay for it is too high. This may just be Tobey’s best work in a long long time since Seabiscuit.
They could have made this scene much more exciting.
Now that the good part is out of the way, the bad part has to be said. The movie itself is… not engaging. Chess is supposed to be one of the longest and challenging games in the world. This movie makes it feel boring. Cuts here and there and extra work on the actors face instead of the game is not getting me engaged. If you’re thinking of introducing someone to a good chess movie, keep waiting. We still have to wait for that at the moment.
Also, on a note of this being a chess movie, why can’t we see the final game played instead of the actors? Sure, once in a while, there ought to be cuts, but use a little animation for goodness sake. It was already used in the first scene when Bobby was a kid, why not now? Not only would it have made the audience know better what may and may not happen, it would have also made us smarter too. A top down view of the game played would have been remarkable. Or else we’re just left with a display of character for a story. We got that in the first 30 minutes how big of a dick Bobby is in real life.
While I praise and would recommend watching it if you want to see how amazing Tobey Maguire is, there’s nothing else left. Sad that a movie of this caliber and potential could have been so much better. You are better off seeing the commentary or finding the actual Game 6 of Fischer Defeats Spassky.
Pawn Sacrifice is distributed by GSC Movies and was released on 18th September 2015. Limited shows at TGV so your best bet is to watch at a GSC theater.