By: Muneeb Arshid
Pawn Sacrifice, the new film by Ed Zwick (Blood Diamond) about American chess prodigy Bobby Fischer (Tobey Maguire). It’s a movie that certainly was going for the full Red vs. Blue of the Cold War and certainly gave you that if that’s what you were after. You’ve got paranoia upon patriotism upon neurosis upon a little more paranoia. Mixed in of course with “my phone’s being wiretapped”.
What to like about the film? Well, in one word the neuroticism. The performance of Tobey Maguire as the ever increasingly mad, and ever decreasingly sane Bobby Fischer was a standout. I, personally did not like his character, especially when it seemed that the success was getting to his head even before facing off against Liev Schrieber’s Spassky. But not liking a character, doesn’t mean that the character was badly played, in my mind, it was wonderfully played, but he gave the sense of me not wanting to get nowhere near him if we were to meet.
However, the plot did keep jumping around and bringing in characters who we were to relate to, but would then unceremoniously disappear when the story shifted to the craziness of Bobby. Also, it’s female characters were quite flimsy, where the issues that Bobby’s sister may have had were completely ignored, and his mom was just there to play a socialite and later just a women to pan the camera to when need be.
All in all, a safe movie with a great performance by Maguire, but the character that resonated with me more was Spassky. Pawn Sacrifice gets a grade of B.