Credit: <i>Pawn Sacrifice</i>

Bobby Fischer’s historic 1972 victory over Russian grandmaster Boris Spassky at the World Chess Championship in Reykjavik became one of the most celebrated episodes of the Cold War, yet the war inside Fischer’s head was only beginning. This straightforward biopic follows the chess prodigy (Tobey Maguire) through his teenage celebrity and gradual emergence as America’s great white hope. The climactic battle with Spassky (Liev Schreiber) unfolds in an atmosphere of superpower paranoia, offering an emotional explanation for Fischer’s later anti-Semitic rants and international conspiracy theories. Screenwriter Steven Knight (Dirty Pretty Things, Eastern Promises) sticks with the popular notion that genius and lunacy grow on the same vine, which doesn’t tell us much about Fischer in particular but certainly conforms to the sad trajectory of his life. Edward Zwick (Glory) directed; with Lily Rabe, Peter Sarsgaard, Robin Weigert, and Michael Stuhlbarg.