Director Liz Garbus presents this intimate look at the life of volatile chess player Bobby Fischer, who stunned the world in 1958 by becoming the U.S. champion, and later shot to infamy for his increasingly erratic behavior. Frequently left alone as a child by his single, Jewish mother, Brooklyn native Fischer was proficient on the chess board by the age of six. A self-taught player, he continued mastering his game though his early teens, when he defeated such star players as Arthur Bisguier, Samuel Reshevsky, and William Lombardy to snag the top slot at the 1957-58 U.S. Championship. Later, in 1972, the Watergate scandal and the Vietnam War were bumped from the headlines to make room for stories about Fischer winning the world title from defending champion Soviet Boris Spassy in Reykjavik, Iceland, though it was this game that appeared to mark a turning point in the American media darling's illustrious career. Retiring from the game and disappearing from the spotlight, Fischer was essentially all but forgotten until he reemerged in the early 1990s for the "Revenge Match of the 20th Century" against his old opponent Spassy. Unfortunately for Fischer, the game was in Yugoslavia, which at the time had been hit with strict U.S. sanctions. As a result, an arrest warrant was issued for Fischer, and he became a fugitive from the law for over a decade. On the rare occasion that he did make a public appearance, he appeared disheveled, and his comments were peppered with vicious attacks on both Jews and Americans. In January of 2008, Fischer succumbed to the effects of renal failure at a Reykjavik hospital. In this documentary vintage footage of Fischer, and conversations with the friends and family who knew him best combine to provide a compelling portrait of a tortured genius whose brilliant mind became his greatest foe.
Robert Chappell - Director/"Diamond Run"
Philip Sheppard - Composer, IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON
Harry Benson - Photojournalist
Dick Cavett - Famous talkshow host
Henry Kissinger - 56th U.S. Secretary of State
Gary Kasparov - Chess Champion
David Edmonds - Book Author
Larry Evans - Participant
Paul Marshall - Attorney
4 stars out of 5 -- "Liz Garbus' intimate film combines impressive archive footage with candid interviews with Fischer's friends and colleagues." - 07/07/2011 Total Film
"[P]oignant and unsettling....An impressive array of interviewees has been assembled to pore over Fischer's life and career..." - 08/01/2011 Sight and Sound
"[A] fascinating documentary....This expertly constructed film follows the curious and tragic life of the troubled chess icon as he went from child prodigy to global legend to paranoid recluse..." - 09/23/2011 Los Angeles Times