The Luzhin Defence


Time Out says

Alexander Luzhin (Turturro) is a chess grandmaster. The game has been his only world since childhood, and he's entirely lacking in social skills. His unconventional behaviour raises eyebrows at the Italian lakeside resort where he's taking part in the 1929 world chess tournament, but also draws the attention of Natalia (Watson), a Russian woman holidaying with her overbearing mother Vera (James), who's anxious for her daughter to marry well. As the attraction between Natalia and Luzhin grows, so too does Vera's dismay at the liaison. Luzhin, meanwhile, grapples with the demands and conflicts of his dedication to the game, and his love for Natalia. This does not quite live up to Nabokov's novella. But it's a valiant attempt to capture the spirit of the original, and the overall result is engaging, gently humorous and ultimately quite moving, with Turturro emanating a beguiling purity and exuberance.

By: KW


Release details

108 mins

Cast and crew

Marleen Gorris
Peter Berry
John Turturro
Emily Watson
Geraldine James
Stuart Wilson
Christopher Thompson
Fabio Sartor
Peter Blythe
Orla Brady
Mark Tandy
Kelly Hunter
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