Pawn Sacrifice (2015)

Pawn Sacrifice

Pawn Sacrifice Review

Pawn Sacrifice is a 2015 biopic directed by Edward Zwick and starring Tobey Maguire as Bobby Fischer. It is quite a solid film, but the one that could have been much better.

It is about famous chess player Bobby Fischer and it follows the 1972 World Chess Championship and his eventual accent into madness. The story itself is very interesting and important to know. And I loved how entertaining the movie is which was quite unexpected for me. They made this rather boring subject matter intriguing and even riveting at times as the movie flies by quickly. Also, the acts are all pretty well paced and all are engaging.

But the problem with the movie is that it is always so disappointing and it always feels like it could have been better. It is such a lot potential. It is very professional and dramatic, but it seems that it just goes through the motions as the emotion isn’t as strong as it should have been and the film is never as complex or as deep as the subject matter demanded. It is rather simplistic from beginning to end and there never happens anything that is unexpected or especially memorable.

The characters are well developed and I like how they portrayed these real-life persons with realistic depictions. Bobby Fischer himself is great and always very realistic and you feel for him after his paranoid behavior kicks in. Boris Spassky is also good as his opponent and the rest of the team are all pretty solid, but not as memorable.

The acting is great. All of the performances are very good, but it is Tobey Maguire that is the standout here as he is so good. He is stupendous here as I did not expect such a good performance in such a demanding role, but he pulled it off and is remarkable and one of the highlights of the entire flick.

Pawn Sacrifice is quite well directed and of course acted, but it is also pretty well paced and never boring at all which is an accomplishment for a biopic and especially a biopic about such a boring game that is chess. But on the other hand, they unfortunately never went into the game territory deeper and the game itself is never explored at all and you don’t learn a lot about it which is disappointing. But the score is so great as it accompanies this time period perfectly with the tunes from that time. It is also well shot and some scenes are very intense and quite memorable. The highlights are the beginning which wonderfully establishes the main character as a kid and the scenes where he accents into madness are all superb. The tone is also solid and the dialogue is quite good and I liked how they realistically depicted the political background of the championship. And the whole subject matter receives a solid, but still flawed treatment. And as I said, it is grounded, but never as clever or as heartbreaking as it should have been.

Pawn Sacrifice has such a stupendous performance from Tobey Maguire, it is well made and it is very entertaining with some great scenes, but it unfortunately never explores its subject matter as deeply as it should and it is such a lost potential as the whole movie needed more complexity and emotion.

My Rating – 3.5

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