Magnus Carlsen, deemed the Mozart of chess, is a prodigy who works his way to India’s 2013 World Chess Championship, facing five-time defender Viswanathan Anand. Written by Linn-Jeanethe Kyed, Magnus is a documentary 10 years in the making (from 2004 to 2014). While the movie was interesting and intense at times, it was a bit dry and drawn out. (SAT: 3/5)
Review by Senior Contributor Stephanie A. Taylor
The film opens at its most climatic part. It begins in India, Magnus seemingly dazed as the press surrounds him with microphones, cameras and questions before the tournament. The scene leaves viewers anticipating the remainder of the documentary.
A few moments later, there is an interview with Henrik Carlsen, Magnus’ father who’s concerned about his son’s development. It was hard to give him physical instructions or to simply show him how to do things. Carlsen describes his son as a thinker.
By age four, he had an understanding of the relationships between numbers, particularly a flag book with numerical facts about each country. That’s when Henrik realized Magnus could be a great chess player.
A few other moments in Kyed’s documentary popped out. When Magnus was 13 years old, he played against Garry Kasparov, the number one chess champion in the world at the time. Magnus was ranked 786. With anxiety pulsing through him, he looked behind his seat to see his family giving encouraging and endearing looks from the audience.
Well into the documentary, it ties back to the beginning where we see the competition between Magnus and Viswanathan. Magnus seems uncomfortably tense as he waits for the defender to enter. Viswanathan seems calm and focus as he sits and makes the first move.
As a child Magnus said, “I hope to become world chess champion. But we’ll have to wait until the time comes.”
Did the time ever come for Magnus?
© Stephanie A. Taylor (11/28/16) FF2 Media
Middle Photo: Thirteen-year-old Magnus plays against Garry Kasparov, the number one chess champion in the world at the time, 2004.
Photo Credits: Hollywood Reporter, Times of India and Chess24.com
Q: Does Magnus pass Bechdel-Wallace Test?