Is 'Pawn Sacrifice' Worth Your Money? Critics Weigh In
"Pawn Sacrifice" takes viewers on a journey through the life of brilliant, but mentally ill, American chess pro Bobby Fischer - and according to critics, it is a road worth traveling.
Rotten Tomatoes gives a 77 percent rating to the Edward Zwick-directed biographical thriller about a man (Tobey Maguire) who challenges the Soviet Union and its greatest player (Liev Schreiber) for the World Championship of chess.
Critics praise the film for its casting and storyline. Read what they have to say below:
"Is anybody better at playing a dotty, preoccupied genius than Tobey Maguire? His brow’s worried furrows and unsettlingly inward-gazing eyes made him convincingly uncanny as the natural born writer in 'Wonder Boys,' and he gave even Spider-Man a visionary gleam.'Pawn Sacrifice' is intelligent, absorbing, never boring, and skillfully tense when it should be ..." -- Tim Appelo, The Wrap
"The supporting cast — especially Schreiber, [Michael] Stuhlbarg and [Peter] Sarsgaard — does fine work. But the main credit goes to Maguire (and director Zwick) for making Fischer’s mental collapse both inevitable and heartbreaking. They resist the temptation to get righteous about Fischer’s fall; it’s an act of kindness for them to acknowledge it without rubbing our faces in it." -- Walter Addiego, SFGate
Although the acting seems to be unanimously praised, some argue the film leaves unanswered questions.
"'Pawn Sacrifice' also comes with a long, unwieldy postscript that covers the last 35 years or so of Fischer's life, avoiding some biopic pitfalls by simply screeching to a halt and explaining the rest on screen. It's a fitfully entertaining and well-acted movie that doesn't quite come together—though maybe the frustrating lack of resolve is appropriate for Fischer's arc-resistant life." -- Jesse Hassenger, AVClub.com