Rating (2.5 out of 5)
Summary: With all the hype around this show, I can only think that Netflix has the best marketing group ever. This below-average show is rather predictable and sometimes cringey. The movie reminded me of an elongated “Rounders,” with even the last match coming down to a face-off with a Russian.
One of the funniest items to me is Beth’s (Anya Taylor-Joy) competitor/boyfriend Benny (Thomas Brodie-Sangster). You know Thomas from “Maze Runner.” He is 30 now but still looks 12. They tried to make him look older by throwing him in a duster. Then tried a hat. That didn’t work. Finally, they added a mustache. Nope, still looks 12.
The end of the movie speaks volumes as to what was wrong with the film. She is escorted by the State Department for the big final tournament. She can’t go anywhere in Russia without him. But in the end, he lets her walk on her own on the way to the airport. And the film ends with her playing chess with Russians in a park during a Russian winter. Ridiculous.
It is nice to see a strong female lead these days, but you won’t find that here. She constantly relies on drugs or alcohol. Then relies on a series of men, even during her last match.
There a few nice scenes, mostly when they are playing chess. However, these clips are few and far between. The rest of the series is wasted time.
Plot: Beth is orphaned in the 1950s and has a natural talent for chess. Can she battle through drugs, alcohol, and her own stubbornness to beat against the best chess players in the world?