The Luzhin Defence (2001)
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as Alexander Luzhin
as Jean De Stassard
as Luzhin's Father
as Luzhin's Mother
Critic Reviews for The Luzhin Defence
Makes up for a creaky structure with the intensity of emotion and psychological nuance provided by two of our finest screen actors.
It plays a predictable, if pretty, game.
As brave as it is affecting.
When Luzhin's old chess teacher shows up, the movie becomes a slow-motion wreck.
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.
Audience Reviews for The Luzhin Defence
well crafted historical/period drama that proves bobby fisher wasn't the first chess champ that was wack a doodle.
THE LUZHIN DEFENCE A very good movie. An interesting story, funny and sweet in places, albeit disturbing in many aspects as well. It is based upon a novel by Vladimir Nabokov and concerns underlying themes of love and family, dysfunctional personalities and relationships, and vulnerable people. John Turturro gives an awesome performance as the deeply troubled genius and chess master Alexander Luzhin. Emily Watson was wonderful as the open-hearted young woman Natalia, somewhat overwhelmed as she finds herself the object of his sudden marital intentions. The entire film was shot on location. The story is set in Europe between the great wars and depicts period dress, manners and mores of the upper middle class bourgeoisie typical of that time. The action takes place at a high-brow Italian lakeside resort community where the unlikely couple first lay eyes on one another—is it love at first sight or something else entirely? The vacation resort is hosting a national chess tournament in which Alexander will be competing in a grueling challenge against a vanguard of eminent gaming professionals for top honors. In flashback we come to see and understand through his haunting memories the sources of Alexander’s past and present torments as he tries to remain focused and work out his winning strategies. As days go by and the chess match proceeds, the pressure mounts and questions abound. Will Alexander be able to withstand the enormous personal stress he is laboring under, not to mention certain devilish attempts to sabotage his play, and carry off a victory in the competition? Will Natalia’s ever-growing love will be strong enough to continue to nurture their budding relationship and ultimately save her precious Sasha’s (pet name) life? A great story. Solid entertainment. A rating of PG-13 seems about right for this film.
Very interestiong story. There's something I find enchating about Emily Watson, but have no clue what that is.
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