The Dark Horse Reviews

  • Oct 24, 2018

    Genesis, an old chess champ, returns to civilisation after years of going in and out of mental hospitals. He had a rough youth but found support in his brother and chess games. He returns to his brother, Ariki, since there is no one else, but he is living a harsh life. Staying at home drinking and taking drugs while his only focus is being a key man in a criminal gang. The gang are always at his place - being tough. Ariki has a son that lives in these environments, Mana. This threesome is the main figures here as they all have they're demons to fight. Genesis hooks up with an old mate and starts working with him. A chess club for kids that have little joy in they're lives. They are of to a national championship and this is naturally complicated. A very well told film. Actually a biography, but I'm not sure how similiar it is. I dig the story and there are some very nice acting here. Cliff Curtis as Genesis is amazing. It looks good, but some shaky-cam is a little downer. The music is very good - some NZ rap and some chiller, classical-ish piano vibes are playing at the right moments, creating atmospheres. Quite unheard of, but a very good film. It's emotional and no moments are wasted on unnecessaries. I found the chess tournament period a bit short, but again, 15 more minute of playtime could have been too much in total. 8.5 out of 10 patches.

    Genesis, an old chess champ, returns to civilisation after years of going in and out of mental hospitals. He had a rough youth but found support in his brother and chess games. He returns to his brother, Ariki, since there is no one else, but he is living a harsh life. Staying at home drinking and taking drugs while his only focus is being a key man in a criminal gang. The gang are always at his place - being tough. Ariki has a son that lives in these environments, Mana. This threesome is the main figures here as they all have they're demons to fight. Genesis hooks up with an old mate and starts working with him. A chess club for kids that have little joy in they're lives. They are of to a national championship and this is naturally complicated. A very well told film. Actually a biography, but I'm not sure how similiar it is. I dig the story and there are some very nice acting here. Cliff Curtis as Genesis is amazing. It looks good, but some shaky-cam is a little downer. The music is very good - some NZ rap and some chiller, classical-ish piano vibes are playing at the right moments, creating atmospheres. Quite unheard of, but a very good film. It's emotional and no moments are wasted on unnecessaries. I found the chess tournament period a bit short, but again, 15 more minute of playtime could have been too much in total. 8.5 out of 10 patches.

  • Jul 17, 2018

    Got to see this in-flight with AirNZ, loved it, I'd say it's Curtis' best performance to date; another great description of NZ's not so spick and span corners, and very real problems, not as violent as "Once were warriors", not as light-hearted and charming as in "boy". Great work.

    Got to see this in-flight with AirNZ, loved it, I'd say it's Curtis' best performance to date; another great description of NZ's not so spick and span corners, and very real problems, not as violent as "Once were warriors", not as light-hearted and charming as in "boy". Great work.

  • May 10, 2018

    This movie was based on fact about Genesis 'Gen' Potini (Cliff Curtis), a Maori speed-chess champion seeking redemption and a new purpose in life despite his struggles with bipolar disorder. It tackled complex themes and was richly layered and unpredictable. RT rated it 97%.

    This movie was based on fact about Genesis 'Gen' Potini (Cliff Curtis), a Maori speed-chess champion seeking redemption and a new purpose in life despite his struggles with bipolar disorder. It tackled complex themes and was richly layered and unpredictable. RT rated it 97%.

  • Mar 07, 2018

    Based on actual events and from an actual character "The Dark Horse"

    Based on actual events and from an actual character "The Dark Horse"

  • Dec 24, 2017

    Excellent script and direction by writer-director James Napier Robertson. Fabulous acting esp. by Cliff Curtis in the title role of Genesis; A Maori Chess Champion who suffers from Bi-Polar disorder, and spent a great part of his life in and out of institutions. In the end - it is Chess that saves him, and his new students. Fabulously done and full of hope.

    Excellent script and direction by writer-director James Napier Robertson. Fabulous acting esp. by Cliff Curtis in the title role of Genesis; A Maori Chess Champion who suffers from Bi-Polar disorder, and spent a great part of his life in and out of institutions. In the end - it is Chess that saves him, and his new students. Fabulously done and full of hope.

  • Jun 10, 2017

    7.5/10 calm but great

    7.5/10 calm but great

  • May 01, 2017

    I loved this movie! It's one of my favourites. I especially enjoyed Digby Simpson's role as a quarter-finalist in the Chess Competition. It's a real shame that the people casting this movie didn't cast him to have more screen time, as I'm sure he would have killed that role!

    I loved this movie! It's one of my favourites. I especially enjoyed Digby Simpson's role as a quarter-finalist in the Chess Competition. It's a real shame that the people casting this movie didn't cast him to have more screen time, as I'm sure he would have killed that role!

  • Jan 27, 2017

    a dark horse indeed, this one

    a dark horse indeed, this one

  • Jan 24, 2017

    Engaging and definitely worth a watch. It's dark but positive. Curtis owns his role.

    Engaging and definitely worth a watch. It's dark but positive. Curtis owns his role.

  • Dec 30, 2016

    Incredibly well played by Cliff Curtis, I know next to nothing about chess but it was still very interesting. A similar section of society as Once Were Warriors, and a stark, sometimes uncomfortable look at mental health issues. Well worth a watch.

    Incredibly well played by Cliff Curtis, I know next to nothing about chess but it was still very interesting. A similar section of society as Once Were Warriors, and a stark, sometimes uncomfortable look at mental health issues. Well worth a watch.