The Luzhin Defence (2001) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Luzhin Defence2001

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

Set in the 1930s, an uncharismatic chess grandmaster travels to Italy to play the match of his life and meets a beautiful young woman who is vacationing with her mother at a nearby resort.


John Turturro
as Alexander Luzhin
Emily Watson
as Natalia
Stuart Wilson
as Valentinov
Christopher Thompson
as Jean De Stassard
Mark Tandy
as Luzhin's Father
Kelly Hunter
as Luzhin's Mother
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Critic Reviews for The Luzhin Defence

All Critics (71) | Top Critics (23)

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

June 14, 2001

It plays a predictable, if pretty, game.

May 21, 2001

As brave as it is affecting.

May 21, 2001 | Rating: 3/4

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

May 18, 2001 | Rating: C+

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

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

May 11, 2001 | Full Review…

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