More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Advertisement

Overall Rating
3.44

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look48.15%
Average48.15%
Pretty Bad: 3.7%
Total Crap: 0%

4 reviews, 3 user ratings


Latest Reviews

Darkest Hour by Jay Seaver

Shape of Water, The by Jay Seaver

I, Tonya by Rob Gonsalves

Wonder Wheel by Peter Sobczynski

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri by Rob Gonsalves

Swindlers, The by Jay Seaver

Oro (Gold) by Jay Seaver

Disaster Artist, The by Peter Sobczynski

Explosion by Jay Seaver

Lucky (2017) by Rob Gonsalves

subscribe to this feed


Luzhin Defence, The
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by EricDSnider

"As exciting as, well, chess."
3 stars

Chess players become champions by noticing patterns that emerge in the way people play. The moves may be different, but the patterns remain the same. "The Luzhin Defence" is about a chess champion who notices the patterns of the game while falling victim to the patterns of life. Unfortunately, while the rules of chess are exact and precise, this movie only hints at its themes, leaving many elements frustratingly undeveloped.

The film takes place in Italy in the 1930s -- a romantic setting indeed -- at a world-class chess tournament. The man to beat is Alexandre Luzhin (John Turturro), an eccentric, slightly befuddled genius with a tortured past: His father committed adultery with his aunt, and his mother committed suicide.

Vacationing in Italy is Natalia Katkov (Emily Watson), a wealthy woman whose mother (Geraldine James) keeps trying to pimp her off on another wealthy layabout, Count Jean Stassard (Christopher Thompson). But Natalia is fascinated by the inscrutible chess player, and they fall into a muted, palatable kind of love.

Intrigue comes rather late in the film, with the arrival of Luzhin's childhood chess instructor. Valentinov (Stuart Wilson), we come to learn, is intent on making Luzhin lose the current tournament, and it's clear he has power to rattle the poor guy's nerves.

The question, of course, is why Valentinov wants to ruin Luzhin after all these years. A reason is given -- jealousy over his chess skills -- but it's a weak one, and it's not issued with enough certainty to warrant all the effort Valentinov goes to. Luzhin's chess epiphany, which should also have been a major revelation, turns out to be another dud.

How about some real conflict between Natalia and her repressive mother? Or maybe some tension between Luzhin and his competitor? The film is a letdown, alas, almost squandering all the fine acting and lovely scenery.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=5275&reviewer=247
originally posted: 05/24/01 14:46:08
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

8/12/01 N. Ruff Best movie we've seen in months. 4 stars
7/20/01 skye i'm sure i saw this. i think i liked it. sort of. 3 stars
4/17/01 Spetters Pretty boring! Turturro is all tics and no feeling. Only Watson lights up sometimes. 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:


Discuss this movie in our forum

USA
  20-Apr-2001 (PG-13)
  DVD: 18-Sep-2001

UK
  N/A

Australia
  N/A


Directed by
  Marleen Gorris

Written by
  Peter Berry

Cast
  John Turturro
  Emily Watson
  Orla Brady
  Geraldine James
  Stuart Wilson
  Fabio Sartor



Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
eFilmCritic.com: Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast