The Luzhin Defence
Have you ever wondered what a director contributes to a film? The Luzhin Defence is the quintessential example of a director behaving very badly and unintentionally illustrating how essential it is that the role be filled by someone of sound artistic mind.
Marleen Gorris also directed Antonia's Line, which won a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. The Academy Awards are a shit, political affair that occasionally award excellence in cinema by accident while stroking the balls of the various corporations and special interests who have a financial interest in dumbing down movies and silencing creative voices. I haven't seen Marleen Gorris's magnum opus but I betcha I know about it.
A director is responsible most of all for the performance of the actors. It's a movie for Christ sake. It's not happening live. There are myriad takes of each line from every conceivable angle. If the actor is well known and proven but they stink like a putrid corpse in a particular film you can bet the director was getting railed by a PA in a grip truck seconds before shouting "Action." Or maybe she's just terrible. I don't know. John Turturros and Emily Watson deliver the worst performance of either of their careers. Coincidence?
The movie is about a chess champion. I love chess movies. They had me before I hit play, then they immediately lost me. Watch Pawn Sacrifice from last year instead. It's riveting. This is bad. It's based on a Nabokov book and really shouldn't be this poorly executed.