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Magnus

✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

Norway

2016

1h 16m

Director Benjamin Ree

Starring Magnus Carlsen, Viswanathan Anand, Henrik Carlsen, Espen Agdestein

Genre Documentary

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From a young age Magnus Carlsen had aspirations of becoming a champion chess player. While many players seek out an intensely rigid environment to hone their skills, Magnus’ brilliance shines brightest when surrounded by his loving and supportive family. Through an extensive amount of archival footage and home movies, director Benjamin Ree reveals this young man’s unusual and rapid trajectory to the pinnacle of the chess world. This film allows the audience to not only peek inside this isolated community but also witness the maturation of a modern genius.

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70

Village Voice by Daphne Howland

Ree makes things easy for people who don't play chess, deftly pacing Carlsen's triumphs and failures and milking the suspense as "the Mozart of chess" employs his intuition to win, in an age when many players depend on computers to hone their skills.
80

Screen International by David D'Arcy

Magnus Carlsen, called the Mozart of chess, became world champion in 2013 at the age of 22. Benjamin Ree’s rousing documentary shows us how this taciturn prodigy got there, and how his family keeps him sane.
42

The Playlist by Kevin Jagernauth

Magnus is gifted with a tremendous opportunity and mostly squanders it, creating a profile that certainly admires Carlsen, but does little to uncover the methodology or magic behind the dazzling display he demonstrates on the board.
40

The Guardian by Leslie Felperin

Even though director Benjamin Ree has accessed the family archive of footage showing young Magnus as a socially awkward prodigy through the years and interviewed him directly many times, the film barely dents his inviolate wall of polite reticence.
60

Total Film by Neil Smith

It’s too brief to convey the intellect and almost mystical ability that underpin Carlsen’s success.
63

Movie Nation by Roger Moore

[Ree] virtually never surprises us, making his film more a celebratory hagiography for proud Norwegians than anything the rest of the world, in and out of chess, can embrace.