Film Review: “Pawn Sacrifice” (2014) ★★★★


There is always someone who criticizes films based on true stories; whether because of facts being told is unverified or something else that the viewer might think he knows better. However, when it comes to Edward Zwick’s Pawn Sacrifice it’s hard to find or say anything negative or prove the filmmaker wrong in any aspect of the story, as the main subject of the film is Bobby Fischer and his sacrifice with pawn, his sanity and insanity at the same time, the world being created by him, and the one, he tried to escape. This movie manages to keep the intensity and the high voltage up till the end, showing that only great minds can get that far, as far as Bobby Fischer could reach; a mind that could never been considered as normal, otherwise, he would never be who he became for the rest of the world – as one of the greatest chess players.

When the film begins, we find Fischer locked up in his room, losing himself somewhere deep in his mind, while the viewer gets the chance to go back in time when Bobby starts playing chess. As a child, Fischer already showed some great skills that made him a potential chess player who could have reached the highest pedestal. Winning all possible junior competitions, struggles with his mother, and his ability to calculate hundred moves ahead makes him predict the end of the game before it even starts. But once you get back to reality, where the already grown up Fischer is about to conquer one championship after another, you see his psychological condition and mental health continue to deteriorate.

Being caught between two superpowers and his own struggles, Fischer manages to challenge the Soviet Empire, while their best player, Boris Spassky, about to lose while the game 6 is still considered the greatest chess game ever player. Meantime, you will get the chance to travel deep into the mind (of course, not that deep) in order to partially be able to understand Fischer, or why he has been considered as one of the most difficult persons to deal with. But that of course does not change the fact that great and amazingly talented people never tend to be like many others, and Bobby Fischer was one of them.

Edward Zwick’s film captures well the impossible personality of Fischer and how he dealt with his family, or even with the world, while being a self-centered person. Meantime, the film never decreases its velocity, moreover, increases its dynamics significantly, grabbing the viewer’s attention fully. Tobey Maguire’s dramatic acting skills are impressive while the resurrection of Fischer is quite remarkable. Live Schreiber has always been an underrated actor, and here he proves what we really miss when he mostly gets a supporting role. Peter Sarsgaard is another story, which most of you will certainly agree –  history will always remember him as one of the finest actors. This is why when you watch Pawn Sacrifice with such an ensemble of actors, there is no way this movie could have gone wrong in any way.

In conclusion, Pawn Sacrifice is worth a biopic film to watch. It never has a dull moment which is the main key of the film. It always keeps the viewers interested, while the story develops so quickly, that sometime you probably will find it difficult to watch while staying seated. In the end, if we put everything else aside, this film tells the story of one great man, who alone could go against the Soviet Empire to defend the honor of his country… And if you know at least a bit about the Soviet Empire, then you know, how strong that human being should be to go against one of the most powerful unions at that time….


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