Bobby Fischer Against the World

Bobby Fischer Against the World

Bobby Fischer against the World is a feature documentary that uses the narrative tension of the 1972 match between Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer to explore the nature of genius, madness, and the game of chess itself. This film tells the stranger-than-fiction story of the rise and fall of an Fischer, a true icon. From veteran filmmaker Liz Garbus, and the final project of late editor Karen Schmeer, Bobby Fischer Against the World exposes the disturbingly high price Fischer paid to achieve his legendary success and the resulting toll it took on his psyche. Rare archival footage and insightful interviews with those closest to him expand this captivating story of a mastermind’s tumultuous rise—and fall. 3.6 out of 5 based on 13 reviews
Bobby Fischer Against the World

Omniscore:

Certificate 12A
Genre Documentary
Director Liz Garbus
Cast David Edmonds, Harry Benson, David Shenk, Susan Polgar, Larry Evans, Sam Sloan, Harry Sneider, Malcolm Gladwell, Dr. Henry Kissinger Bobby Fischer
Studio Dogwoof Pictures
Release Date July 2011
Running Time 93m
 

Bobby Fischer against the World is a feature documentary that uses the narrative tension of the 1972 match between Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer to explore the nature of genius, madness, and the game of chess itself. This film tells the stranger-than-fiction story of the rise and fall of an Fischer, a true icon. From veteran filmmaker Liz Garbus, and the final project of late editor Karen Schmeer, Bobby Fischer Against the World exposes the disturbingly high price Fischer paid to achieve his legendary success and the resulting toll it took on his psyche. Rare archival footage and insightful interviews with those closest to him expand this captivating story of a mastermind’s tumultuous rise—and fall.

Reviews

The Los Angeles Times

Robert Lloyd

[Liz Garubus] fills in many of the blanks — to an impressive extent, given the obsessively guarded privacy of her subject — in a film that is both meditative and exciting, like the game it concerns, and mercilessly penetrating even as it reserves judgment on a man whose outrageousness practically demands it.

06/06/2011

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Empire Magazine

Nev Pierce

Liz Garbus expertly conveys Fischer’s stature, stress and the art of chess, splicing friends’ recollections with interviews from the man at the time. She also doesn’t shy away from his ugly years as a self-hating Jew, spouting racist rage in exile.

01/07/2011

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The Guardian

Peter Bradshaw

With its fascinating interview footage and tremendous black-and-white still photographs by Harry Benson, who was permitted great access to Fischer, this is an intriguing portrait. Its pessimism makes it a difficult watch.

14/07/2011

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The Evening Standard

Charlotte O'Sullivan

Liz Garbus's documentary is well-researched and accessible; the only problem is that it's over so quickly. Bobby Fischer Against The World could be six times as long and still have you on the edge of your seat.

15/07/2011

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The Daily Express

Henry Fitzherbert

...a fascinating, darkly humorous but ultimately disturbing portrait of troubled genius … Riveting.

15/07/2011

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The Financial Times

Nigel Andrews

...a mesmerising documentary…

14/07/2011

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Total Film

Tom Dawson

Liz Garbus’ intimate film combines impressive archive footage with candid interviews with Fischer’s friends and colleagues.

05/07/2011

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The Independent

Anthony Quinn

It's a sad story of genius paying for the gift.

15/07/2011

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The Observer

Philip French

..a tragic story, often painful to watch and listen to, with some eloquent, highly sympathetic testimony from other chess players and outstanding photographs of Fischer by his friend, the Scottish-born Life photojournalist Harry Benson, but little insight into the game of chess.

17/07/2011

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The Scotsman

Alistair Harkness

Given that American chess grandmaster Bobby Fischer's 1972 showdown with the Russian world champion Boris Spassky occupies a large chunk of this entertaining documentary about the perturbed prodigy's life, it's perhaps unsurprising that the film has a tendency to overplay the Cold War metaphors a little ... That aside, the film works pretty well as a neat portrait of a troubled genius whose mastery of a board game that relies on paranoid thinking sadly bled into his personal life.

16/07/2011

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The Daily Telegraph

Sukhdev Sandhu

...Fischer [is] chronicled here in dispiriting detail … Garbus’s documentary paints a portrait of a sad genius who grew up alienated and grew old alienating many of the people who admired and might have helped him.

14/07/2011

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Time Out

Tom Huddleston

Overall, the film lacks that precise hook of exactly why it’s worth telling this story now, but it remains a fascinating story nonetheless.

14/07/2011

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The Times

Wendy Ide

...Liz Garbus has crafted a compelling account of Fischer’s troubled psyche, his rise and his dramatic fall.

15/07/2011

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