Bobby Fischer Against The World (2011)
Considered by many to be the greatest chess player to ever live, Bobby Fischer Against the World is the first and definitive documentary biography of the eccentric genius who rose from humble beginnings and captivated a world audience with his victory over Russia's Boris Spassky at the height of the Cold War. His trajectory propelled him from child prodigy to US champion at age 15 and world champion at 29. Quixotically refusing to defend his championship, Fischer became a virtual recluse for decades before resurfacing for a bizarre final chapter as a fugitive from US justice. Rare archival footage and insightful interviews with those closest to him expand this captivating story of a mastermind's tumultuous rise -- and fall. --(c)Music Box Films … More
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Critic Reviews for Bobby Fischer Against The World
An affective portrait of an intense, obsessed man and a tense, twisty, and occasionally inspiring narrative surrounding the Fischer-Spassky match.
Absorbing documentary biopic on the former world chess champion Bobby Fischer.
Tackles the iconoclastic nature of its subject both personally and professionally, making a persuasive, emotionally involving case for the dark, troubled flipside of genius.
A once-in-a-lifetime character makes for a fascinating documentary subject in producer-director Liz Garbus' "Bobby Fischer Against the World."
Liz Garbus's documentary about the great American chess champion Bobby Fischer does its level best to avoid the easy cliché equating madness and genius, except that, in the case of Fischer, the cliché apparently holds up.
Tactfully but strongly posits a connection between the genius he brought to an infinitely complex game and the madness that defined his relationship to just about everything else.
at once the director's most accomplished and entrancing film to date
Supplies a cracked, conflicted genius trapped in his ceaseless endgame.
Garbus handles this decline with tact. The sorry spectacle of the ranting codger never effaces the image of the boy concentrating his entire being over a chessboard. You have to love that kid and pity him.
This is strong and effective documentary filmmaking, but it's only a lengthy prologue to the story on which Liz Garbus clearly wants to focus.
Garbus tells his story with aplomb, placing it in the greater context of the Cold War, and also examining the human toll and anguish Fischer brought upon himself.
What sets this film aside from being a conventional biographical account of Fischer's life and career, is when it examines the nature of genius and why Fischer was so unpredictable, erratic and eventually intensely paranoid.
This is an utterly compelling insight into modern history, psychology, international politics and boardgame warfare.
Garbus's portrait of Fischer as a lonely child and a monomaniacal young chess player becomes a portrait of his times as well...
The film may stick to the standard rise-and-fall story arc, but it does pull together a lot of fascinating archival material.
It's a life so incredible and so tragic that even those with no knowledge of chess will be enthralled.
Audience Reviews for Bobby Fischer Against The World
When I was in college, I would occasionally play a friend in chess. And he admitted he had a hard time playing me, because of my strategy. I didn't have one, so he could not see ahead what I was going to do. Luckily, the documentary "Bobby Fischer Against the World" has a lot to say on the subject of chess strategy, so I was able to learn a thing or two for possible future reference.
At the top of the chess pantheon was Bobby Fischer, chessmaster and one time world champion, who was able to play entire games in his head and could outplay almost any other opponent. Sadly, that also included himself, as that same monomania which made him so successful at chess, made him that much less successful as a human being.(There is an intriguing chicken vs. egg debate here concerning his mental illness.) Later in life and post fame, he retains his intelligence to antagonize everybody he encounters with his own brand of twisted and bigoted logic while losing his mind.
Centered as the documentay is around the 1972 Chess World Championship versus Boris Spassky, who is still very much alive, oh by the way, Cold War politics come into play.(This chess match was apparently a very huge deal. I love the newscasts of the day that would go - "Watergate...McGovern...but first chess...) But to counter something said in the film, yes, the Soviet state supported its athletes, but they were not professional in the way we think of them today. Rather, they were probably allowed to live in a pretty nice apartment and did not have to stand on line for food.
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