HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Iceman
Blue Sky
Tokyo Dragon Chef
Pittsburgh
12 Hour Shift
Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud, The
Spoilers, The
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Tesla
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
Tenet
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
Away
Soul
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Ava
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Alone
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
Let's Scare Julie
Okko's Inn
Shaolin vs. Wu Tang
Fatman
   
 
Newest Articles
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
   
 
  Dangerous Moves Checkmate
Year: 1984
Director: Richard Dembo
Stars: Michel Piccoli, Alexandre Arbatt, Liv Ullmann, Leslie Caron, Wojciech Pszoniak, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Daniel Olbrychski, Hubert Saint-Macary, Michel Aumont, Pierre Michaël, Serge Avedikian, Pierre Vial, Bernhard Wicki, Jacques Boudet, Benoît Régent
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: The latest International Chess Championship is being staged in Geneva between two very different Russian competitors. One is the elder, Akiva Liebskind (Michel Piccoli), a seasoned professional with a heart condition: he knows his time is nearly up, but nevertheless wants to go through with the matches due to his determination to remain the champion. His opponent is the temperamental young upstart Pavius Fromm (Alexandre Arbatt) who has taken the audacious move of defecting from the Soviet Union, a fact Liebskind is all too aware of. The powers that be insist that Fromm loses, but will the older man be up to the challenge?

A curious attempt to give chess the visceral excitement of a boxing match, Dangerous Moves, or La Diagonale du Fou as it was originally known, was only one of three films created and directed by Richard Dembo and was highly praised at the time. winning the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Time, however, marches on and the work looks now like a product of the Cold War and consequently not as tense as it might have, but then, chess is an intensely cerebral game and it is difficult to translate that into exciting cinema. Therefore, Dembo tended to rely on the politics surrounding his characters for the suspense.

The drama could have been more compelling if the two chess masters going head to head were from the Soviet Union and The United States, but by making them countrymen, albeit with one in exile, it all feels somewhat remote now. Maybe it did then, unless you were actually Russian in 1984 in which case you probably wouldn't have been allowed to see the film anyway because the efforts to derail Fromm's confidence and therefore sabotage his game are less than ethical, emotionally violent rather than physically damaging.

The matches themselves are played out in front of a huge board so the audience can see who is gaining the upper hand, but there's more to getting one over on your opponent than simply making the right move in the game. Fromm tries to put off Liebskind by arriving late and acting up, even stealing the old man's lucky pen at one point. In return, Liebskind makes official complaints but he also has the might of the Reds behind him, who snap Fromm's concentration by placing sinister figures in the audience to stare at him intimidatingly in peculiar hypnosis attempts.

The pity of it is that Liebskind simply wants an honest contest and the stress of having all these men in high places bringing all their might to bear on his game results in his heart problems getting worse, therefore jeopardising his chances. Fromm has his own problems when the wife he left behind, Marina (Liv Ullmann), is brought over to see him and she's in an even worse way psychologically than he is. The trouble with all this is not so much that you never get a handle on how the games are going until one is declared the winner, but that if you're not a dedicated player then you might well see Dangerous Moves as a storm in a teacup. And then there's the ending, which seems a let down after we wanted to see who was the best in a fair contest. Interesting, then, and well portrayed, but a bit of a relic. Music by Gabriel Yared.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2689 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
   

 

Last Updated: