The Luzhin Defence (2001)



Critic Consensus: Tuturro and Watson play well off each other in this intriguing and well-crafted film.

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Movie Info

A lush historical drama from Dutch director Marlene Gorris, The Luzhin Defense is set in Como, a gorgeous northern Italian lakeside town located at the foot of the Alps. The year is 1929, and Alexander Luzhin (John Turturro) is a talented Russian chess player travelling to Como by train for the World Chess Championship. Also on his train is Natalia (Emily Watson), who is journeying to Como to meet her mother Vera (Geraldine James) at their posh lakeside hotel. Vera wants Natalia to settle down … More

Rating: PG-13 (for some sensuality and thematic elements)
Genre: Art House & International, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Peter Berry
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 18, 2001
Sony Pictures Classics - Official Site

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as Alexander Luzhin

as Natalia

as Valentinov

as Jean De Stassard

as Anna

as Luzhin's Father

as Luzhin's Mother
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for The Luzhin Defence

All Critics (87) | Top Critics (29)

Makes up for a creaky structure with the intensity of emotion and psychological nuance provided by two of our finest screen actors.

Full Review… | June 14, 2001
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic

It plays a predictable, if pretty, game.

May 21, 2001
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic

As brave as it is affecting.

Full Review… | May 21, 2001
Detroit News
Top Critic

When Luzhin's old chess teacher shows up, the movie becomes a slow-motion wreck.

Full Review… | May 18, 2001
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic

If The Luzhin Defence falls short of being totally absorbing and compelling, it's surely because it's so difficult to translate Nabokov's view that we are all pawns in the big game.

May 17, 2001
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

Trapped between being an offbeat, slightly daffy period romance and a dark study of a tragic genius, The Luzhin Defence struggles to a draw.

Full Review… | May 11, 2001
Denver Post
Top Critic

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The Luzhin Defence Quotes

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