An absorbing, fact-based study - a first feature from the writer of Schindler's List - of the trials and triumphs of a young chess prodigy. Max Pomeranc (a top 100 player himself) is Josh Waitzkin, seven-year-old son of New York sports reporter Fred (Mantegna), a child whose fascination with chess is initially spurred on by park hustler Vinnie (Fishburne, remarkably convincing) before pushy dad signs him up with tutor Bruce Pandolfini (Kingsley). As Josh battles through increasingly daunting tournament matchplay, his progress reflects his mentors' unfulfilled aspirations as much as the his own developing strategic maturity. Ranking performances, and evocative camerawork from veteran Conrad Hall. True, James Horner's score seems to have strayed in from a fists-in-the-air crowd-pleaser, but it's the one weak link in an accomplished, unexpectedly winning movie.
Searching for Bobby Fischer
Cast and crew