Film Micrœview #64: Computer Chess (2013)

04.03.2014 § Leave a comment

Computer Chess

Rating: Good.

I had gotten mixed recommendations from friends about this film, so I was skeptical going in, but it seemed like it achieved well its mission: to evoke a particular time and place in society’s technological development, and to be an amusing comedy about what happens when a bunch of folks involved in that cluster together in one room. Plus it was more — surreal at moments, and went beyond its simple retro aesthetic into some impressively weird camera and editing effects.

I broke down laughing at one scene toward the end: a young woman is explaining how she’s started seeing people’s behavior as if they were chess pieces: moving only in diagonals, or stepping forward and pausing like pawns. This poor kid — who has about lost his mind with all the conspiratorial talk of military interest, self-aware AI, and overeager self-help group coinciding at this hotel — his response is to ask her if people have started disappearing after occupying the same space! It might not sound that funny in writing, but Computer Chess earns this moment.

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