List Film

Bobby Fischer Against The World (4 stars)

Lovingly realised documentary on American chess master

Bobby Fischer Against The World

(12A) 93min

Bobby Fischer was the greatest of all past chess masters, and certainly the best America has ever had. Like most geniuses, however, Fischer’s life was a bizarre trajectory of success, fame, delusion and ultimately (possibly) madness.

Liz Garbus’ lovingly realised film peels away the various skins of this very curious onion and like all great documentaries it excavates and finally uncovers a totally different story to the one expected. Prolific producer and director Garbus (her previous films include Shouting Fire, Coma IV and excellent documentary short Killing in the Name) utilises some amazing little- seen old footage (at one time Fischer was one of the biggest celebrities in the world) and a measured narrative arc to tell the odd tale of gifted child who went on to become a mascot of the American capitalist way when he beat Soviet master Boris Spassky in 1972 (at the height of the Cold War), and who later became a self-hating American and Jew.

Bobby Fischer Against the World grips like a thriller but Garbus allows her audience to make up their own mind about this remarkable and strange man, pawn and one time king (of the world).

Filmhouse, Edinburgh from Fri 15 Jul.

Bobby Fischer Against the World Official Trailer

Bobby Fischer Against the World

  • 3 stars
  • 2011
  • US/UK/Iceland
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Liz Garbus

Intriguing documentary about one time chess champion Fischer and his later delusion and madness.

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